Longtime San Pedro community leader, June Burlingame Smith recounts the day the Sansinena exploded in the LA Harbor.

December 17, 2020
Stories of L.A. Harbor Area: For Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow (SOLAHA)

Vol. II, No. 35 June (Burlingame) Smith, longtime San Pedro community leader and activist, recounts the day the Sansinena oil tanker exploded in the L.A. Harbor December 17, 1976.

What a vivid description from June about the harrowing account of her experience when the oil tanker Sansiena exploded. It was the year of the USA bicentennial. Do you recall where you were? See the Los Angeles Times Archive  at end of message.

After June and her husband Greg moved San Pedro as “early weds”, she soon became a mother, yet maintained her professional career with Los Angeles Unified School District and eventually Professor Emeritus of English at Los Angeles Harbor College since 2011, and spent 20 years on campus working in various capacities: English instructor, Sexual Harassment Officer, Staff Development Officer and President of the Academic Senate and full English Professor for 12 years.

Her dedication to community and compassionate credo includes participation as a member or chair on many San Pedro organization boards including Toberman Settlement House, Harbor Interfaith Services, YWCA, San Pedro Coastal Neighborhood Council (past president), and the Los Angeles Port Community Advisory Committee (PCAC). She is also a Polar Bear (and past Queen) taking the annual New Year’s Day plunge at Cabrillo Beach!

Co-producer Jack Baric and I are grateful for the on-going support of Los Angeles County (LAC) Supervisor Janice Hahn, District 4 authorizing grant funding. It’s more important than ever to continue our mission to preserve local history and encourage you to make your own effort for your families and community and we are excited to announce that we’ll film SOLAHA Volume III in January 2021 much thanks to LAC fiscal support. Press release was sent earlier in the week.

We encourage all to continue to supporting local business and many thanks to our generous website sponsors: Renaissance Group (Erik Eisenberg), Clean San Pedro (Steve Kleinjan), George Van Buren & Associates (accounting services), Jim Hussey (State Farm Insurance), ILWU Foremen’s Local #94, and Los Angeles City Council District 15, and eminent sports photographer Peter Read Miller.

Be well and safe during this tenuous time and let’s hope for “opening” soon.  Blessings of the holiday season to all.

Archival news story from Los Angeles Times link here:  The oil tanker Sansinena explodes in Los Angeles Harbor


Other Memories From June Burlingame Smith