Thursday, August 10, 2017

Texas City Disaster Of 1947...

As you may know, the disaster in Texas City led to the largest harbor explosion in American history.

The main reason i even post this today is to remind us how important it is to set up and follow all safety rules when it comes to dangerous chemicals and their handling. The story of the disaster and it's aftermath is heartbreaking, to say the least.

Texas City Disaster

Photo via Wikimedia

On April 16, 1947, the worst harbor explosion in US history occurred. A French cargo vessel named the Grandcamp was carrying a load of ammonium nitrate, which is commonly used in fertilizer and in explosives for atomic weapons.

A lit cigarette left by one of the dock workers had sparked a fire on the loading dock. It spread quickly into one of the Grandcamp’s cargo holds and ignited the ammonium nitrate.

The ship’s captain had ordered her hatches closed to contain the fire, but the rise in temperature only created better conditions for the volatile chemical to explode. The High Flyer, a nearby vessel which was carrying sulfur, was also damaged and exploded a day later due to fires from the Grandcamp‘s initial explosion.

Poisonous gas quickly filled the air over the city. Unfortunately, there was also a phone operator strike at the time, making emergency teams unable to respond to local residents affected by the toxins in the air. Over 500 people were killed in this incident, including a fire chief and 27 of the 28 firefighters who responded to the dock fire.

As a result, new safety measures were put in place to ensure that ammonium nitrate is transported safely. Docks now have a central response system to react quickly to dockside emergencies, and shipping companies are now required to use specially sealed containers and store the chemicals away from other hazardous materials.

I have been to Texas City many times over the years, and I can attest to the fact that many of the scars left from that explosion still exist. Sad thing to see, for sure!

Coffee in the kitchen once again today.


linda m said...

That accident was so sad. Glad they finally put in some much needed safety regulations. I've never been to Texas City - just Houston and Pearland. Raining here - again. We have had the wettest Spring and Summer on record.

Momlady said...

Seems it always takes a disaster to get things moving toward more safety with dangerous materials. However, common sense should play a big part and, unfortunately, nowadays that seems to be greatly lacking.

Barney, The Old Fat Man said...

When I left the area in 2002 there were still some scars from that event showing in TC.

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
It was a sad event, for sure. So many lives were lost, so many were affected in other ways. I hope that nothing like that ever happens again!
Thanks for stopping by today!

Hey Momlady...
Sad but true. I wonder why that is? Right you are about common sense being a thing hard to find now days.
Thank you for coming over this morning!

Hey Barney...
As long as folks remember, maybe the same mistakes won't be made. Yessir, the scars (or some of them) are still there and maybe that's a good thing!
Thanks, Barney, for coming over today!

Rob said...

The explosion was a sad thing but I'm amused by the author linking a boat load of manure to an atomic weapon.

JO said...

What terrible thing to happen. so many lives ruined. But it never fails it seems to take a disaster to wake people up.

We had a big storm blow through here last night so much for drying out