The Great Molasses Flood of Boston, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster or the Great Molasses Tragedy, was a catastrophic event that occurred on January 15, 1919 in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. On that fateful day, a massive tank containing 2.3 million gallons of molasses burst, releasing a wave of sticky, viscous liquid that swept through the streets, engulfing and crushing buildings, vehicles, and unsuspecting bystanders.
The disaster, which claimed the lives of 21 people and injured 150 more, was one of the deadliest industrial accidents in American history. It caused widespread destruction and shock in the city of Boston, and its effects were felt for years to come.
The molasses tank that caused the disaster was owned by the Purity Distilling Company, a Boston-based company that produced industrial alcohol and other products. The tank, which was located in the North End neighborhood, was used to store molasses, which was used as a key ingredient in the production of alcohol.
At the time of the disaster, the tank was filled to capacity with 2.3 million gallons of molasses. The tank was designed to withstand the pressure of the molasses inside, but it was not properly maintained and had developed structural weaknesses. On the day of the disaster, these weaknesses caused the tank to rupture, releasing a massive wave of molasses that swept through the streets.
The wave of molasses, which was estimated to be traveling at speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, was incredibly destructive. It crushed buildings, vehicles, and anything else that stood in its way. The molasses also made the streets incredibly slippery, making it difficult for people to escape.
The disaster claimed the lives of 21 people, including children and elderly residents who were unable to escape the rushing wave of molasses. Many more were injured, some critically, and the city of Boston was left in shock and mourning.
In the aftermath of the disaster, an investigation was launched to determine the cause of the tank rupture. The investigation found that the Purity Distilling Company was at fault, as the tank had not been properly maintained and was in poor condition. The company was sued by the victims and their families, and was eventually ordered to pay millions of dollars in damages.
Today, the Great Molasses Flood of Boston is remembered as one of the deadliest industrial accidents in American history. It serves as a reminder of the importance of proper maintenance and safety regulations, and the devastating consequences that can result from neglect.