Could it Happen Here? The Risk of Dangerous Cargo

Those who wonder whether a chemical explosion like the one that leveled the port of Beirut and killed more than 100 could happen in the U.S. should consider what happened one spring day in 1947 in the port of Texas City, Texas.

Cargo in the hold of the freighter Grandcamp started smoking. Flames erupted, and a blast so powerful that it could be heard more than 100 miles away destroyed the ship, docks and an adjoining Monsanto chemical plant.

The explosion killed more than 500 people – the exact number was hard to determine because many bodies couldn’t be recovered – making it one of the worst industrial accidents in U.S. history. The chemical product that exploded on the ship was the same as the one stored in a Beirut warehouse, ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizer.

Read more at the Taunton Gazette

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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