Sep. 16, 1882 Kings County (Brooklyn) New York, USA
During the heavy thunderstorm of Thursday evening, a sheet of lightning descended from the heavens, apparently divided, and one portion struck an oil tank situated on Newtown Creek in the 18th Ward of Brooklyn at 9 o'clock. A few moments later, a second flash struck the large tank of the Locust Hill Refinery. This tank held 80,000 barrels of crude petroleum and when the lightning struck, the oil burst into flames, lighting up the sky for miles around and filling the air with a dense black smoke. The Brooklyn firemen who had been called out were aided by the steam boat Brilliant. …..the flames appeared to be under control by 4:30 the following morning, when Chief Smith and Foreman Charles Keegan of Truck No 4 started on a reconnoitering expedition. At a burning tank, they discovered a workman and while checking on him they heard a hissing noise and a moment later, the tank gave way and a sea of oil and flame started towards the creek (them). The men ran for their lives and all escaped except for Keegan who was blinded by the smoke and flame. He ran in the wrong direction and was burned to death. Foreman Keegan was one of the most efficient firemen in the department and had been in the city employ for ten years." NY Times article Sept 16, 1882.