The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

South Baltimore Oil Fire

Mar 14, 2022

A three-alarm fire at a petroleum treatment facility killed one worker and sent black smoke billowing into the Curtis Bay neighborhood in Baltimore early on March 7. Only three months ago, coal dust exploded at a CSX coal terminal nearby, shattering windows in people’s homes and also filling the air with poisonous black smoke.

Curtis Bay was rated one of the most toxic places to live in America, “a lot more forgotten of an area,” as one resident said. It is made unlivable by industries including chemical factories, a medical waste incinerator, an animal carcass processing plant, and a sewage treatment plant, with poor people right across the street from them. “You have to live around here because you have nowhere else to go, and you don’t have the money to move,” one said.

State officials found the time to call Curtis Bay an “enterprise zone” and grant property tax credits and income tax credits to businesses operating there. Residents say the city and state need to inspect these operations more often and maintain higher standards when granting permits. The companies respond in a way to say "businesses exist to make profit, not to police themselves."

To get the most minimum safety measures taken, the neighbors and plant workers will have to organize a bigger fight.