One-hundred years ago tomorrow, an explosion at a TNT manufacturing plant in Oakdale, Pennsylvania, killed almost 200 people and injured many more in what is still the deadliest fire or explosion in a United States manufacturing plant. The incident is featured in the Looking Back section of the May/June issue of NFPA Journal.
Newspapers of the time provided detailed coverage of the horrific scene. "Just when I thought I would faint from heat and smoke, a second explosion shook the debris that held me and an iron bar was hurled about two feet above my head," the plant superintendent told one paper. "It stuck fast and by grasping hold of it I was able to pull myself to the top of the wreckage and got my lungs full of fresh air. I knew I was injured because blood was pouring over my face, but I couldn’t feel anything but the terrible heat."
Read the full article here.