Today, TrueStrange remembers an unlikely historical tragedy. One hundred years ago today many people and several horses were killed by molasses, a huge fast wave of it, in Boston, MA
The Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster or the Great Boston Molasses Flood, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. A large molasses storage tank burst and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event entered local folklore and for decades afterwards residents claimed that on hot summer days the area still smelled of molasses.
It struck without warning at midday on Jan. 15, 1919, when a giant storage tank containing more than 2.3 million gallons (8.7 million liters) of molasses suddenly ruptured, sending a giant wave of goop crashing through the cobblestone streets of the bustling North End.
The initial wave rose at least 25 feet high (7.6 meters high) – nearly as tall as an NFL goalpost – and it obliterated everything in its path, killing 21 people and injuring 150 others. Rivets popped like machine-gun fire. Elevated railway tracks buckled. Warehouses and firehouses were pushed around like game pieces on a Monopoly board. Tenements were reduced to kindling.
Outrunning the molasses was out of the question. The first of it raced through the harborside neighborhood at 35 mph (56 kph). Not even Usain Bolt, who clocked just under 28 mph (45 kph) at his world-record fastest, could have sprinted to safety.
Horrible. You could not be blamed for running instinctively if you see a crazy massive wall of molasses coming at you. We mostly like to think that there is a fairness to the universe, but sometimes a person is just in the wrong place at the wrong time and a crazy disaster strikes.
As a personal example, my neck and back still hurt this morning, many years after I was rear-ended while driving because I stopped for a preoccupied pedestrian who stepped into traffic without looking at a crosswalk. If my car was not there to stop the speeding truck behind me, she could have been killed. That thought helps when I feel the pain.