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Explosion, Fire Kill Three At Refinery

Tue., Oct. 17, 1995, midnight

An explosion and fire rocked a Pennzoil Co. refinery Monday, killing three people and injuring four, one critically.

Tanks of naphtha solvent and fuel oil ignited, Steve Hickman, a company spokesman. The fire was put out about two hours later.

Ironworker Donnie Piszczek was working at the top of a 50-foot structure when the explosion rocked the plant. He said he had to jump from the structure, along with a few of the other five or six men working there, because there was only one ladder.

“I heard my foreman say, ‘Get the (expletive) off the iron,”’ he said. “There was a flash and the heat just about knocked me off the iron.”

Black smoke billowing from the plant in Rouseville, a tiny town about 75 miles north of Pittsburgh, could be seen for miles.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

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