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Chicago IL 60605
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Illinois Labor History Society

One Minute After Sunrise by John Hmurovic


One Minute After Sunrise by John Hmurovic


One Minute After Sunrise by John Hmurovic


ONE MINUTE AFTER SUNRISE The Story of the Standard Oil Refinery Fire of 1955 by John Hmurovic  is about the refinery fire at Standard Oil.  “In Whiting, Indiana on Saturday, August 27, 1955 at  6:11 a.m. It’s 80 degrees in the shade, and most of the city’s residents are still trying to sleep off an airless, oppressive night. But inside the plant at Whiting’s biggest employer (and one of the world’s largest oil refineries), something has gone horribly wrong…something that threatens to destroy the entire community.  The clock changes. 6:12 a.m.”
    This is the story of what happened at One Minute After Sunrise on that cataclysmic day in 1955, spoken in the words of the people who lived through it. It’s the story of how, in the passing of a single instant, their lives and their community were changed forever.  John Hmurovic is an award-winning journalist and television news producer. This book is the result of a project by the Whiting-Robertsdale historical Society to collect and preserve memories of the 1955 refinery fire. That effort was honored by the Indiana Historical Society with its annual Outstanding Project Award for 2015.   
    From author John Hmurovic:  Can you remember anything from the 30th month of your life? I'm not sure if my memory is from that time, or if it was from stories later told to me by people who were a part of my life at that young age. The memory I have is being held by mother. She was standing a safe distance from a large window in our house. The sky was completely red and the heat was intense. I didn't know what was going on, but I could feel the fear in her. What I was witnessing was the fire which followed the explosion of one of the world's largest oil refineries just a few miles away. My book is the story of that fire, told by people older than me, people who clearly remembered what happened in Whiting, Indiana on August 27, 1955. It was one of the most spectacular American industrial accidents when it occurred, and was front page news for days. Over 80 people were interviewed for this book. Those oral histories were combined with extensive research to tell the story of what happened at on that day at One Minute After Sunrise. 

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