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The Texas City Chain Reaction Explosions – Top 10 Bizarre Disasters

The Texas City Chain Reaction Explosions

The Texas City Chain Reaction Explosions

On April 15, 1947, the French freighter Grandcamp docked at Texas City, Texas, and took on some 1,400 tons of ammonium nitrate fertiliser. That night a fire broke out in the hold of the ship. By dawn, thick black smoke had port authorities worried because the Monsanto chemical plant was only 700 ft away. As men stood on the dock watching, tugboats prepared to tow the freighter out to sea. Suddenly a ball of fire enveloped the ship. For many it was the last thing they ever saw. A great wall of flame radiated outward from the wreckage, and within minutes the Monsanto plant exploded, killing and maiming hundreds of workers and any spectators who had survived the initial blast. Most of the business district was devastated, and fires raged along the waterfront, where huge tanks of butane gas stood imperilled. Shortly after midnight, a second freighter – also carrying nitrates – exploded, and the whole sequence began again. More than 500 people died, and another 1,000 were badly injured.