The Texas City Explosion of 1947

1044 WordsNov 5, 20085 Pages
The Texas City Explosion of 1947 On April 16,1947, a day that probably began like many others, in Texas City, Texas until shortly before 8:00 in the morning. The hatch covers were removed from hold 4 of the French ship Grandcamp. This morning it was to be loaded with the remainder of it’s ammonium nitrate fertilizer. I’m not sure how much it had left to load but it already had 2,300 tons on board at this time. The fertilizer was not the only thing that the Grandcamp had on board for this trip. At this point in time there weren’t all of the safety precautions taken that we do now. It’s believed that soon after workers entered the hold someone smelled smoke and spotted it rising between the hold and the hull of the ship layers from…show more content…
Although being severely damaged much of the crew remained on borred the vessel for over an hour before being forced off by the smoke still billowing from the explosion site. After being basically ignored for several more hours someone noticed flames now coming from one of the holds of the High Flyer. However it wasn’t until nearly 11 that night that tugs manned by volunteers arrived to try and remove the ship from the slip. However even after cutting the anchor away the tugs couldn’t get the ship removed from the slip. The tugs finally cut the tow lines and having the crew of the High Flyer on board retreated to safety. About 10 minutes after doing this the High Flyer blew up also causing an explosion believed to be stronger than the one originally caused by the Grandcamp. The death tole caused by these explosions is considered the worst industial disaster of all time; resulting in the largest number of casualties in American history. Although a precise death count was never established the Red Cross and the Texas Department of Public Safety published the figures of 405 bodies identified,63 unidentified, and 100 classified as “believed missing” because there was no trace of them ever found. There were also between 3,500 and 4,000 persons injured in the catastrophe. The total property loss was estimated at almost 100 million dollars which
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