Article Archive
Philadelphia refinery fire article
Volume 22, No. 6

Retired National Foam salesman William C. Tamburro gives a one word reply when asked to describe the scene on Aug. 17, 1975, when a refinery fire in Philadelphia thought to be extinguished suddenly roared back to life, killing eight firefighters.


Dispatched from National Foam's headquarters 35 miles away in Exton, PA, Tamburro was assigned to serve as an on-scene consultant to the Philadelphia Fire Department. He arrived at the refinery only 15 minutes before fuel mixed with the runoff of foam and water from earlier fire fighting ignited in the refinery streets.

"It was mid afternoon and I was hungry," Tamburro said. "The Red Cross had set up food and drink in the administration building. So I went over there to eat."

Using a back door, he had just entered the building when he heard screaming.

"I went out through the back door and all I could see was smoke and flames," Tamburro said. "We were all told to evacuate. I and 50 other people got out of there as fast as we could."

The administration building was consumed by the spreading flames. Tamburro would be on site at the fire, off and on, for the next nine days.??????????????????????????????????????


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