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In Pennsylvania, the world's first oil field fire kills nineteen people and burns for three days

First Oil Well, Titusville, Pennsylvania, 1859
04/17/1861 to 04/20/1861
At around six o'clock the newly dug Little and Merrick Well on the Buchanan Farm on Oil Creek in Venango County, Pennsylvania, pumping an estimated three thousand barrels a day, caught fire and exploded.  Hundreds had gathered to see the new well. Fire and explosions from the world's first oil well fire spread across the hundred well field.  The flames took seventy hours to put out, and nineteen people were killed, including oil pioneer Henry R. Rouse.  Two dozen others were burned, some seriously, but survived.  (By John Osborne)  
Source Citation: 
Charles A. Whiteshot, The Oil Well Driller: A History of the World's Greatest Enterprise, the Oil Industry (Mannington, WV: author, 1905), 82.

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How to Cite This Page: "In Pennsylvania, the world's first oil field fire kills nineteen people and burns for three days," House Divided: The Civil War Research Engine at Dickinson College, http://hd.housedivided.dickinson.edu/node/35844.