ATLVault: Doraville’s 1972 deadly refinery fire

Vapors from an overfilled storage tank reached a nearby neighborhood, igniting a pilot light at one of the homes and starting a deadly, three-day blaze.
ATLVault: 1972 Doraville refinery fire
Published: Oct. 16, 2023 at 1:36 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 16, 2023 at 1:44 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The Doraville refinery fire of 1972 remains one of metro Atlanta’s most vivid infernos in history.

At least, as far as the 20th century goes.

The fire began on April 6, 1972, with an overfilled storage tank at the Triangle Refinery. Vapors from the tank reached a nearby neighborhood on Doral Circle, igniting a pilot light at one of the homes.

That caused an explosion, which then set three storage tanks ablaze.

Two people died in the fire; hundreds were evacuated; and dozens of firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion.

The fire raged for three days. Its flames and smoke were reported to have been seen as far away as Alabama.

When people returned to their homes, they were faced with dirt, soot and smoke.

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