Delaware County Daily Times Newspaper Archives

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  • Publication Name: Delaware County Daily Times
  • Location: Chester, Pennsylvania
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  • Years Available: 1959 - 1977
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View Sample Pages : Delaware County Daily Times, August 06, 1975

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Delaware County Daily Times (Newspaper) - August 6, 1975, Chester, Pennsylvania Corinthos holocaust likened to Pearl ByPATDALTON Diily Tlmw Staff .Writer ,'CHESTER A slide show illustrating the events following the most disastrous Upturn in maritime history highligted the Chester Rotary Club luncheon, Tuesday, Central YMCA. Robert Sides, Marcus Hook fire chief, who directed all land-based firefighting efforts at the Marcus Hook BP Oil Corp. refinery following the ramming of the oil tanker Corinthos by the chemical tanker Edgar M. Queeney on Jan. 31, outlined the various methods firemen used to bring the blaze under control. In addition to his firefighting duties, Sides is a instructor at the Delaware Fire Academy, a part-time Marcus Hook policeman and an ad- vertising salesman for the Daily Times. He became fire chief 30 days prior to the Corinthos disaster.. on the Delaware River. Sides said that after the Marcus Hook and Viscose fire companies answered the initial call at a.m. that fateful Friday, the first' objective was to keep the fire from advancing any further into the refinery. He explained that a water-tower operation was quickly set up to protect a petroleum by-products warehouse at the base of the dock 525 feet down the pier from the burning Corinthos. The color slides vividly showed the fireballs 'and 500-foot high flames, as Sides described to Rotary Club members the searing heat which singed the skin of the firemen. "Explosions occurred continually during the first 30 Sides said. "Every man knew that these explosions could devastate the entire area at any time. Yet no company turned and shunned responsibility. Every man did his job without regard to personal sacrifice." i By 4 a.m. Friday, thanks to a furious effort, the fire was pushed back to the ship. In the meantime, other county fire companies were contacted along with the Philadelphia Fire Dept. and the U.S. Coast Guard. Federal and state en- vironmental agencies were also called to lend guidance. SIDES admitted to the audience that Lady Luck was on the side of the firefighters. "The tide was up, allowing us to draft water from the Delaware said Sides, listing the favorable factors (Hat helped the effort. "It was also fortunate that the wind was not blowing inland, or at 50 m.p.h., like the night before." Friday afternoon it was decided that an application of foam would be used to dampen the intensity of the fire. The idea, at that time, was not to put out the fire but to allow a controlled free- burning to continue in order to rapidly consume the oil stored in the Corinthos. The foam led to one of the more heroic acts performed during that event-filled weekend. Fire Boat 32 of the Philadelphia Fire Dept. was moored to the west edge of the pier at the starboard bow section of the ship. It was feeding four foam lines, manned by about 30 volunteer firemen, who were directing foam at the bow of the crippled tanker. ACCORDING to Sides, about 9 p.m. the ebbing tide dropped below a ruptured plate on the bow section of the ship, releasing an oil flow which ignited and ringed the dock, pier and Fire Boat 32 with flames. This sudden flash fire left several volunteer firemen trapped out on the dock. Seeing this, Lieutenant Joseph Tobin, commander of Fire Boat 32, ignored the flames and remained at the dock until all the trapped volunteers were evacuated. Tobin's actions and others have been documented in a step-by-step account which has recently been put in book form and titled "The Corinthos Disaster." Authored by Sides, Marcus Hook Councilman Harry Collins Jr., and Curt Weldon, administrator of the Delaware County Fire Academy, the 60-page publication is filled with photographs from area newspapers and freelance photographers. "The book was published to provide a document .that could help firemen in another location in a similar Sides told the Rotarians. After the fire was under control that Sunday, Sides said that a veteran Coast Guard firefighter told him that the Corinthos disaster was the equal of anything he had seen at Guadalcanal or Pearl Harbor. "The control of the Corinthos disaster, and the aversion of the absolute destruction of the BP facility and the town of Marcus Sides concluded, "are a monumental tribute to the firemen of America, and, in this case, especially those who are volunteers." BOVE, 18, brightens Marcus Hook as she mans borough's Bicentennial booth. ByRUTHDOOLEY Dally Times Correspondent eyeful on view in Hook MARCUS HOOK Motorists and pedestrains passing 10th and Market Sts. can catch an eyeful of history, as they view a log cabin and stockserected there. The cabin, which will serve as an information booth during the Bicentennial year, is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Information, maps and literature will be disbursed by young girls working in the borough this summer. Residents can also obtain information concerning Marcus Hook's Becentennial plans. Donna Pietluck. 17, of Lower Chichester. opened the booth two weeks ago. She is employed under the Delaware County Federal Manpower Youth Services Program. While Donna is on vacation, she is being replaced by Lia Del Bove, 18, of Marcus Hook. ORIGINALLY .PLANNING to dress in colonial apparel the girls have discovered some of the discomforts of days gone by. as the heal of the day made the floor length, long sleeved, dress un- bearable. Lia has designed a cooler, patriotically -striped outfit to wear during the hot weather. The Bicentennial Committee hopes to man the cabin with volunteers beginning in September. According to Lia. she has had several visitors seeking Becenlennial information and has learned quite a bit herself through conversation with some old timers from the area. A visitor registry book shows Pennsylvanians from as far away as Split Rock and tourists from Flint, Mich., have already used the facility. ALTHOUGH THE stocks were installed merely to create a colonial atmosphere, one borough a bit under the weather, put himself into the con- traption and had difficulty getting out. Located behind Tindall Park, the burned out area restored by sixth grade students from Marcus Hook Elementary School in 1973, the setting also includes picnic tables and shade trees, creating a lovely, peaceful site at the borough's busiest intersection. PAGE 3 Delaware Countv METRO WEDNESDAY. AUGUST Students, yes; reporters, no; says Diggins MEDIA COURTHOUSE A proposal to have high 'school students attend complete jury trials and decide what the verdicts should be has been endorsed by Delaware County President Judge John V. Diggins. The plan, designed to stimulate more student interest in the court system, was one of the recommendations made during a recent courts-public information seminar in Snowmass, Col. Louis C. Stetler, Delaware County's court-community relations director, was a panelist at the four-day seminar arid submitted a written report on it to Judge Diggins. In letters to his colleagues on the county bench. Judge Diggins enthusiastically ap- proved all but one of the seminar recommendations cited in Stetler's report. The veteran jurist nixed a suggestion by a court public information officer from Alabama that news reporters be invited to attend conferences between judges and lawyers. "Personally 1 think nothing is to be gained by inviting the press into our bench and bar Judge Diggins declared. However, he wrote that the suggestion that "piques" his interest, is the one that high students attend full jury trials, reach verdicts and "compare their verdicts with the actual findings of the real jury. "1 like this because I have said publicly many, many times that no one can really understand the trial process until and unless he has sat through an entire court trial." Judge Diggins said the existing procedure under which students occasionally attend a trial for an hour or two falls far short of an adequate educational format. He said-he would ask the county board of judges to im- plement the new plan next winter., A proposal that trials with wide public interest be televised for the press via closed-circuit TV was also hailed by Judge Diggins who pledged to press for adoption of the plan. The judge stressed in an interview that telecasts from the courtroom where a trial is taking place to another cour- troom would reduce disruptions caused by reporters rushing to meet deadlines. Judge Diggins made it plain he agreed with a seminar speaker, President Judge Robert A. Wenke of the Los Angeles Superior Court, on the importance of treating jurors courteously. Judge Diggins emphasized in his letter to the other judges that he has always contended that the courteous treatment of jurors "is our best source of public relations." He said the court should continue to bend every effort to inform jurors on court procedures so they may un- derstand "why we do things the way we do them and not some other way." EAGLES Mike Boryla (left) and Randy Logan visit Joey Klus of Underwood, N. J. CCMC Burn Unit Eagles cheer youth UPLAND A critically burned Bellmawr, N.J., youngster got a suprise visit Tuesday from Philadelphia Eagles' quarterback Mike Boryla and strong side safety Randy Logan because two Chester ladies the boy had never met "just wanted to do something nice for him." The.boy, Joseph Klus, 12, was transferred from Underwood (N.J.) Hospital to Crozer Chester Medical Center (CCMC) on July 27, after sustaining burns over 70 per cent of his body when gasoline ignited while he was reportedly attempting to start a lawnmower in the basement of his parents' home. Mrs. Darlene Scarpato of 1505 Ridley Ave., and Mrs. Mary Swanson of 1223 Mc- Caffery Place, both of Chester, learned of the boy's situation and worked with Eagles' and medical center officials to set up the meeting and presentation of an Eagles' autographed football to Joey. Both Mrs. Mrs. Swanson are emergency medical technicians, the former a volunteer with the Franklin Fire Co., the past tvyo years and the latter a prospective member of the same department. It was members of the Franklin Rescue Squad who transported the boy from Un- derwood to CCMC. Mrs. Scarpato described the brief but emotional meeting between the critically injured boy the the two National Football League stars as "beautiful, just beautiful." Manager Gwenn Skalish learns More than tickets punched in theater ByRUTHBISSEX Daily Times Correspondent GLENOLDEN MacDade Mall Eric Theater manager Miss Gwenn Skalish faces managerial problems of con- stant personnel turnover, impatient customers, demanding hours, and a sock in the mouth with unexpected fortitude for a 26-year-old. In fact, Miss Skalish's dream is to own and operate her own theater some day. The only female Eric.Theater chain manager in the area points out that women are no Bicentennial bus planned The Delaware County Bicentennial Commission has arranged a tour Aug. 16 and 17 which will participants to view the scope of Delaware. County from the Colonial era to the.present. The bus tour, similar to those which will lake place in 1976, will cost and take seven hours, The air conditioned Southeastern' Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) bus will leave the amphitheater in Rose Tree Park, Upper Providence, at 10 a m. each day. There Is ample, free parking at the site for cars until the tourists return. The tour will visit the Tyler Arboretum with its garden for the blind and fine plantings and some trees dating from Colonial times; the Franklin Mint in Middletown, .the largest private mint in the country; Concord Village; Brandywine Battlefield Park, including Lafeyette's and Washington's headquarters; the John Chad House, home of the colonial ferryman arid tavern keeper; the Chris C. Sanderson Museum, home of the late, noted historian; and a visit to the Chadds Ford Barn Shops. Included in the price of the tour is lunch and a copy of'the Delaware County Bicentennial Tour Book which has tickets for entrance to other historical sites in the county and discounts in restaurants. The book is good through next year. The tour is limited to 48 people each day and reservations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis through Jack Green, director of tours for the Bicentennial Commission at the Media office. longer the exception in this field. "The chain .has four or five, mostly in the she said. It is no accident she is in her present position. "I HAVE BEEN with the company about six Miss Skalish said. "I started as a cashier at the old Manor Theator in Prospect Park." There was parttime studying of business administration at Delaware County Community College and a move to the Concordville Eric before transferring to the job nearer home still as cashier. Because Miss Skalish lives with her parents in Glenolden she prefers not to have her address known. "Customers might come to the door' with their com- she said with a smile. A move to assistant manager and then manager brought her to her present assortment of pleasures and problems. "It is a difficult job as far as time she said. "I am here whenever we are open six days a week. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday every week and on holidays and at other times to do the paper work you can't do when the theater is open." IT IS difficult, too, when customers take violent ex- ception to an enforced rule. "I have been in the mouth when I told a girl she had to have shoes Miss Skalish said. "I went around for four days wiU.' a fat mouth." Tns girl, whom Miss Skttlish said was 22, found she had swung at the wrong person. Miss Skalish prosecuted. "I am in charge of hiring and firing everyone except the she said. "That is strictly handled by the union." Apparently the hiring is more frequent than the firing. "I have had eight cleaners in one Miss Skalish said. She explained the crowds coming to the current feature "Jaws" have multiplied the cleaning problem and her workers object. HANDLING crowds is a problem. "No one wants to stand in line. Everyone wants to be first, "she said. Miss Skalish is still amazed at the continuing crowds for Jaws. "I have one young.boy who has come to see it 15 times. That is what he she qualified the statement. "An adult has seen It five times. 1 have never seen anything like it. This (the public reaction to the movie) is something else. It is incredible." But if Miss Skalish's dream of owning her own theater comes true, she won't run pictures of the same caliber. "1 would run all old movies. Fred Astaire and that type. And although I have never seen them, I would like to try the old serials my mother talks about. "I really feel in 10 years' time (her target date; there would be a market for it." GWENN SKALISH find" theater manager i ;