Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 12

FEATURE

major
disasters
in delaware
county and
treatment
of mass
casualties
(continued
from our
spring edition)
By: Harry V. Armitage, M.D.
Editor's note: In part 1 of this article Dr. Armitage wrote about
the Jackson Explosion of 1882 and the Eddystone Explosion in
1917. He continues...

10 DELAWARE COUNTY MEDICINE & HEALTH

summer 2017

the sun oil f i r e
The fire that occurred at the Sun Oil Refinery on
October 3, 1946 was Delaware County's worst disaster
since the Eddystone Munitions Factory explosion. Ten
men sustained fatal burns, and an additional two hundred were seriously injured. The fire followed an explosion in a unit of the aviation gasoline cracking plant
at Marcus Hook, and spread rapidly throughout the
plant. In all, twenty-nine fire companies responded to
the fire, and as firemen were attempting to control the
flames, a fractionating tower blew up, spraying hundreds of gallons of high test gasoline on firefighters
and workmen. Those facing the tower were seriously
injured as they were caught in a shower of molten
metal, flames, and noxious fumes. The Linwood Fire
Company pumper was set afire and extensively damaged while it was pumping foamite on the fire. Three
Linwood firemen lost their lives as a result of burns.
Ambulances from the Linwood and Marcus Hook
fire companies were the first to arrive at the scene.
They were sent to the Refinery as soon as the initial
explosion was heard at the fire houses, and four badly
burned men were taken to Chester Hospital.On that
evening, I happened to be on duty in the accident
room and have a vivid recollection of the events that
transpired.
The first victim was brought in on a stretcher, and
within a matter of minutes, three more were wheeled
in. It was immediately obvious that these men had
received fatal injuries, as deep burns covered approximately seventy to eighty percent of their bodies. With
empathy for the doomed men, I began with the help
of several nurses to cut off the charred clothes, start
intravenous fluids, and apply burn dressings. At first, I
was the only doctor present, but within ten to fifteen
minutes, other doctors began to arrive in response to
calls from the operators of the Professional Bureau
Answering Service, who had notified over one hundred doctors of the emergency and requested that they
report to area hospitals. In a short period of time more
victims arrived, and soon the small accident room was
so filled that the injured overflowed into the hallway
outside the room. The physicians, working independently, identified those needing care, administered
treatment, then moved on to new patients; and despite
the seeming confusion and the absence of protocol,
the victims were treated with relative dispatch and were
soon ready for admission to the floors.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017

Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 1
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 2
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 3
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 4
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 5
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 6
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 7
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 8
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 9
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 10
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 11
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 12
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 13
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 14
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 15
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 16
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 17
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 18
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 19
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 20
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 21
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 22
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 23
Delaware County Medical Society Summer 2017 - 24
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