On Saturday, May 24, 2008, the City of Signal Hill will be commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Hancock Oil Refinery Fire.
The fire, which occurred on May 22, 1958, was one of the largest fires in California history and was one of the first instances of mutual aid among fire departments, with units from the Signal Hill Fire Department, Long Beach Fire Department, Los Angeles County Fire Department, and Vernon Fire Department responding.
The fire burned for 72 hours, and the smoke cloud could be seen for several miles.
“We are looking forward to honoring the firefighters who saved our community, many of whom were not recognized for their bravery 50 years ago,” said Signal Hill Mayor Michael Noll. “Many people throughout our region vividly remember the fire and the damage caused miles around from ash and petroleum falling from the sky,” said Noll.
The City of Signal Hill has commissioned a video documentary of this event that includes never before seen film footage and photographs, as well as interviews with the firefighters.
A private ceremony honoring the firefighters involved in extinguishing the fire will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The event will be open to the public from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. to view the video and displays. Copies of the DVD will be available beginning May 24 for $20.00. Proceeds from the sale of will benefit the Friends of the Signal Hill Library.
For further information, contact Becky Burleson, assistant to the city manager, at (562) 989-7305.