On the evening of September 26, 1961, the tanker POTOMAC exploded as it was unloading four and a half million gallons of fuel at the State Port in Morehead City. Numerous fire departments responded. Two sailors were killed. The fire burned for five days and could be seen from thirty miles away. Only the heroic efforts of the firemen, who hosed down tanks containing millions of gallons of aviation fuel and standing 550 feet from the fire, kept the disaster from becoming even greater.