Remembering State Port Disaster

The hazmat spill Monday along the state port terminal brought back memories of Morehead City's worst disaster ever recorded.

On September 26, 1961, a tanker ship known as the "Potomac" burst into flames while unloading its 101,000 gallons of fuel. That explosion caused residents in downtown Morehead City to be evacuated from the port all the way up to 12th street.

Shirley Lucas, 84 years-old, remembers that day like it was yesterday. "And of course everything was chaotic, it was like a mad house. The oil from the ship was floating on top of the water and the water was on fire."

That blaze in 1961 burned for six straight days and was finally extinguished on October 1st. Two men died in the fire.


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