Conflagrations

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Texas City Explosion – Texas – April 16, 1947

Lack of awareness of the dangers from ammonium nitrate despite published guidelines and earlier similar historical tragedies caused the tragedies at the port of Texas City on Galveston Bay. Two explosions of ammonium nitrate fertilizer shattered Texas City and its surrounding area beginning on the morning of April 16, 1947. In the first explosion the …

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Halifax Explosion – Nova Scotia – Canada – December 6, 1917

The explosion that ensued was one of the world’s greatest prior to the arrival of atomic bombs. It shattered the port of Halifax and surrounding area. The death toll was 1,600, while 9,000 others were injured, and 6,000 homes were destroyed. Two ships were approaching Halifax harbor on the morning of December 6, 1917, one …

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Monongah Explosion – Pennsylvania – December 6, 1907

Monongah was an exceptional example of the great risks that have always faced miners. While some reduction in risks has occurred as technological improvements are brought into use, the risks still remain at an unacceptably high level. Pennsylvania and West Virginia were major producers of coal in the early years of the twentieth century. In …

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Chicago Fire – Illinois – December 30, 1903

The theater that was claimed to be fireproof went up in flames shortly after its first opening. Of the 1,900 people in attendance six hundred lost their lives. Chicago’s deadliest fire of the twentieth century occurred shortly after the opening of the new, fireproof, Iroquois Theater. On December 30, 1903, when the Iroquois Theater was packed …

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