This week in history: The Great Boston Molasses Flood

Blog Post created by freddurso Employee on Jan 15, 2014

Ninety five years ago this week, Boston suffered a most unusual tragedy. A massive storage tank filled with molasses collapsed and sent a powerful wave of the sugary substance throughout the city's historic North End. The event killed 21 people--mostly immigrants and city workers--and injured about 150 more.

In 2011, NFPA Journal chatted with historian Stephen Puleo, who has written a book on the tragedy. “The substance that caused the flood produces a little giggle at the outset,” he said. “If this were caused by fire, water, pestilence, or earthquake, it would have gotten more play.”

The flood’s aftermath was no laughing matter, however. The tank’s construction and safety tests were called into question and prompted a landmark court case and construction safeguards that took effect across the United States. Check out exerpts from the book in Journal, and watch a video of Puleo giving a tour of the disaster sites.