10 Most Devastating Fires and Explosions in U.S. History

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Unknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

4. The General Slocum Disaster

This maritime disaster might not be as famous as the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. but just 7 years earlier, it would be a disaster that was considered the deadliest in New York before the tragedy of 9/11, 2001. Built in 1891, the General Slocum was a popular sidewheel passenger ship chartered to take passengers up and down the East River.

On June 15, 1904, the ship was chartered by the St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church for $350.00 to take 1,358 passengers (plus crew) from the German-American community of the Lower East Side for their annual fun-filled day on the river. Sadly, only half an hour into the journey, a fire would break out, and in only 20 minutes, it would kill 957 people and injure 180. Sadly, most of the victims were women and children.

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