Fire Lieutenant James Pouliot, along with seven other Philadelphia fire fighters were killed in a fire and explosion at the Gulf Oil Refinery. The fire began when an 80,000-barrel tank ignited while being filled with oil from a tanker. The ship was not damaged, and the fire was brought under control; however, the facility’s sewage system failed to drain off oil that was spilled from the fire. Fumes backed up and it flashed followed by a first and second explosion. Within minutes the fire jumped to 11 alarms, calling in 600 fire fighters. In the refinery at the time of the fire were crude oils, jet fuel and naptha.
This firefighter line of duty fatality occurred before the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was built in Emmitsburg, Maryland. While this firefighter has not been officially honored at the Memorial site, there are plans to do so when resources are available.