At 9:12, the ammonium nitrate reached an explosive threshold of 850°F. The vessel then detonated, causing great destruction and damage throughout the port. The tremendous blast sent a 15-foot tidal wave surging over nearly 100 miles of the Texas shoreline, leveled nearly 1,000 buildings on land, and sunk virtually every ship within the harbor. Two airplanes flying in the area were incinerated. A chain reaction caused an explosion on board the High Flyer and ignited refineries on the waterfront, destroying the Monsanto Chemical Company plant and several explosive facilities. Falling bales of burning twine added to the damage while the Grandcamp's anchor was hurled across the city. Sightseeing airplanes flying nearby had their wings sheared off, forcing both out of the sky. Ten miles away, people in Galveston were forced to their knees, windows were shattered in Houston, Texas, 40 miles away. People felt the shock 250 miles away in Louisiana. The explosion blew almost 6,350 tons of the ship's steel into the air, some at supersonic speed. Official casualty estimates came to a total of 567, but many victims were burned to ashes or literally blown to bits, and the official total is believed to be an underestimate. The entire volunteer fire department of Texas City was killed in the initial explosion, and with the fires raging, first responders from other areas were unable to reach the site of the disaster.
--Texas City Disaster, Wikipedia

In history today we talked about systemic failures; the world is a crazy sad place sometimes.

No comments: