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Fascinating Facts: The Stewart Tank Farm Fire

6 years ago by in ( Welcome to Brea )


Aerial view of the devastation from the Stewart Tank Farm Fire in 1926. The City of Brea is at the top of the picture, to the right.

1.) On April 8, 1926, at 9am, Brea's most devastating disaster, the Stewart Tank Farm Fire, was ignited when a bolt of lightning struck 2 seperate tanks of crude oil. The resulting explosion released fireballs into the sky and broke windows at Brea businesses 1/2 mile east of the blast.

2.) At the height of the fire, cyclones created by the superheated air from the blaze, moved east toward homes and neighborhoods, damaging roofs and destroying property. The fierce winds held lumber and debris from the destroyed structures aloft for miles, dropping it as far away as Carbon Canyon and Chino.

3.) An estimated 40,000 "looky-lous" descended on the area out of curiosity, clogging streets and roads in Brea and nearby communities. Hollywood film companies sent crews to get footage from the ground and by air for newsreels and movie filler.

4.) The fire burned for more than 48 hours, before finally burning itself out. Property was damaged or destroyed, orchards were burned and the Stewart Station was a total loss. During the course of the disaster, nearly 400 men,  from every oil company in Southern California, came to Brea to fight the blaze. There were some minor injuries reported and some close calls, but, remarkably, no one was killed.


Author :

"Thank you" for visiting Beautiful Brea Old & New (BBON). First & foremost, I am a proud mother & wife. I am also a well-rounded independent contractor. But you can call me an enthusiastic cheerleader, supporting wholeheartedly the City of Brea --a charming town with character & innovation, turning 100 years old in 2017!

  • Carolyn Campbell

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