A grim anniversary in Delaware: 'I questioned how many of us were going to walk away'

  • Source: WDEL-AM 1150 & WDEL.com
  • Published: 10/22/2020 12:00 AM

It was Tuesday, October 21, 1980, and Phillies fans, including New Castle County volunteer firefighters, were anticipating the start of what would be a Game 6 World Series clinching victory. But everything changed around 6:30 p.m. when a massive explosion rocked the Amoco plant off of River Road in New Castle south of Dobbinsville, blowing out windows, and shaking houses and residents for miles around. Ken Sturgis was a 28-year old firefighter with Good Will of New Castle fire company and was on one of their trucks that rushed to the scene. He recounted for WDEL what transpired that night forty years ago. "It looked like the whole plant was involved," said Sturgis. "We had about six fires I'd estimate in the marsh between Dobbinsville and the Amoco plant." Daylight was waning, there was no power, and the plant's internal water suppression system was knocked out, but there was the danger of more, and possibly worse, explosions taking place.


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