1919 Standard Oil Company fire

40°44′N 73°57′W / 40.73°N 73.95°W / 40.73; -73.95

1919 Standard Oil Company fire
DateSeptember 13, 1919 (1919-09-13)
TimeStarted 2:00 p.m. (Eastern Time)[1]
LocationStandard Oil Company Campus, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City
Non-fatal injuries300

On September 13, 1919, a fire and explosion occurred at the Standard Oil Company in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City.



The Standard Oil Company Campus and former Astral Oil Works was spread out over 20 acres (8.1 ha).[2] A fire broke in Tank No. 36 on the Standard Oil Company Campus around 2:00 p.m., but before the New York City Fire Department was called, the tank ignited, sparking off multiple fires throughout the campus.[1] The yard held large quantities of naphtha, gasoline, oil and alcohol and more 1000 barrels of other explosive and flammable liquids.[1] The fire burned furiously for three days, destroying millions of gallons of oil and caused damage estimated at $5,000,000 ($87,869,500 in 2024).[3] Over 1,000 firemen fought the spectacular blaze, 300 of which were treated for burns and minor injuries.[3]

Standard Oil’s Brooklyn refinery may have been an intentional attempt to clear the land and draw insurance.[4] The fire site is now the location of the Bayside Fuel Oil depot at Bushwick Inlet.[4]

See also






  • Atlas Obscura (2019). "Brooklyn Fire Department House on Norman Avenue". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  • Hashagen, Paul (2002). Fire Department, City of New York. Turner Publishing Company. ISBN 9781563118326. - Total pages: 272
  • Mother Jones (September 14, 2007). "The Brooklyn Oil Spill: A Timeline". Mother Jones. Retrieved September 21, 2019.
  • New-York Tribune (September 21, 1919). "The Greatest Fire New York Has Ever Known". New-York Tribune. New York: Greeley & McElrath. pp. 1–20. ISSN 2158-2661. OCLC 9388331. Retrieved September 21, 2019.