Boston Bhopal – The Forgotten Great Molasses Flood of 1919
On January 15, 1919, one of the great industrial accidents of the early 20th century occurred in the densely populated North End of Boston when a large 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 Boston Globe reported that people “were picked up by a rush of air and hurled many feet.” Others had debris hurled at them from the rush of sweet-smelling air. A truck was picked up and hurled into Boston Harbor.
The tragedy ultimately led to one of the first major class action lawsuits in U.S. history.