Boston Molassacre [Weirdest Disasters]

Posted by on July 19th, 2010

Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Disasters ever to strike down man or beast.

On January 15, 1919 an enormous, fifty-foot tall molasses tank collapsed, overrunning a portion of the great city of Boston with such sugary goodness that 21 people were killed, 150 were injured and eleventy-billion cavities ensued.

Thanks to the now pervasive colloquialism, “Slow as molasses,” I can’t help but picture this otherwise deeply depressing disaster as a scene out of an Austin Powers movie wherein Boston’s citizens scream and point at a 15-foot tall wave of dark brown molasses without ever making an effort to turn and run as it ever so slowly envelopes them.

The truth, however, is that this terrifying Blob-like blob was flying down the streets of Boston at 35 mph and crashing into structures and people alike with such force that it destroyed buildings, lifted a train off its elevated track and tossed a truck into Boston Harbor.

People and horses were stuck in the gooey tide like flies on flypaper, like flies in honey, like flies in Vaseline. (Why is it that flies get all the good “stuck in” similes?!) Some of the trapped horses were even shot by police rather than watch them struggle. (For the sake of what’s left of BPs PR I’m glad that’s not how struggling animals are handled today.)

Rather than wait for the molasses to ferment and stage the largest rum-fueled street party the world has ever seen, the city elected to begin the cleanup process immediately. It took 87,000 man-hours to clean up the streets and buildings affected by the Great Molasses Flood. That’s almost 20 years of one man working 12 hour days! (OR, to put it in terms you guys might be able to comprehend, that’s roughly the same amount of time it would take to clean the blood from your ears after listening to any given Nickelback album from beginning to end!)

If you had to be killed by a wave of something, what would you choose? Know of any Weird Disasters that absolutely have to make it into this week’s list?

4 Responses to “Boston Molassacre [Weirdest Disasters]”

  1. Cameron Says:

    I remember reading about this in my grade eight science textbook…

  2. Sebastian_Amunategui Says:

    I think it might be awesome to be killed by a giant wave of ball pit balls.

  3. Brett Rounsaville Says:

    I like where your head's at.

  4. Weird Things » Blog Archive » Death From Above! [Weirdest Disasters] Says:

    […] 1. The Boston Molassacre! […]