#TBT from the NFPA Archives: 1977 Grain Elevator Explosion

Blog Post created by jrodowicz Employee on Dec 27, 2018

Pictured here: Head house and silos, as seen from southeast after the explosion. Grain Tank 1 collapsed, and contents of Grain Tank 2 are burning.

Eighteen people were killed in a massive dust explosion on December 27, 1977 at the Farmers Export Grain Elevator in Galveston, Texas. Twenty-two people were also injured from the incident.

The explosion occurred at 8:31 p.m. and completely destroyed Grain Tank 1 and much of the surrounding facilities. Multiple investigations examined the explosion, including one conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which issued citations with proposed penalties totaling $116,000. According to the citations, “there were 11 alleged willful violations and six alleged serious violations. Five of the alleged violations directly concerned the railroad dump shed, and seven related to dust dusty atmospheres. “


For more information regarding this and other moments in fire history, please reach out to NFPA's Research Library & Archives. The NFPA Archives houses all of NFPA's publications, both current and historic. Library staff are available to answer research questions from members and the general public.