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Boston Molasses Disaster

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Boston Molasses Disaster
On January 15, 1919, one of the most tragic and strange disasters occurred in Boston, Massachusetts. It was around forty degrees that day, when two days previously it had been only two degrees. At 12:30 PM 2,300,000 gallons of molasses spilled into the streets near Keany Square after the tank holding it exploded, most think due to a combination of poor design and the drastic temperature flux. The aftermath was tragic, with twenty one deaths and one hundred and fifty injured. The company who owned the tank was quick to blame others, but soon it was found that the tank was poorly constructed, and if more time had been taken, the Boston Molasses Disaster would never have happened. Molasses was a very lucrative enterprise during World War I. Not only was it a profitable sweetener, but it could be made into rum and ethanol, the latter of which was a key component in making munitions. The United States Industrial Alcohol Company (USIA) bought Purity Distilling Co., which imported the molasses from Cuba and stored it in a 50 foot tall, 90 foot in diameter tank. The tank had been leaking since the molasses was first poured into it, so much so that children would collect the pooled molasses to take home. Instead of addressing the problem, USIA painted the tank brown to cover up the leaks. On the fateful January day in 1919, a sound described as machine gun fire was heard, and a fifteen foot wave came crashing through the street at thirty five miles an hour,
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