Texas City explosion on April 16, 1947

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Museum of Houston and the Houston Metropolitan Research Center

At approximately 9:12 a.m. on the morning of April, 16, 1947 the Grandcamp cargo ship exploded triggering one of the worst industrial disasters in American history. The explosion was caused by a fire in the hold containing ammonium nitrate fertilizer. The fire was discovered just before 8:00 a.m. The captain chose not to use water to put out the fire because it would ruin the cargo. Instead, he elected to fight the fire by battening down the hatches, closing the ventilators, and turing on the steam system. According to the Red Cross and Texas Department of Public Safety, there were 405 identified and 63 unidentified dead. Another 100 were classified as "believed missing" because no trace of their remains were ever found. Another approximately 3,500 people were injured. The damage was estimated at $100 million in 1947 dollars excluding loss of petroleum products that burned up and damaged refinery infastructure and pipelines. (From The Texas City Disaster website developed by Firefighters Local 1259.)

A structure at the Monsanto plant across the slip from the Grandcamp ship. The arrow on the photo is pointing to a piece of the ship's propeller that hit the building. A note on the back of the photo states "Other scars of 1947 disaster mark Monsanto structure."

"Texas City explosion on April 16, 1947." (1947) Museum of Houston and the Houston Metropolitan Research Center: https://hdl.handle.net/1911/36531.

Forms part of
Published Version
This material is to be used for personal or research use only. Any other use, including but not limited to commercial or scholarly reproductions, redistribution, publication, or transmission, whether by electronic means or other wise, without prior written permission is prohibited. Permission to use any material in this manuscript must be obtained from Houston Metropolitan Research Center - Houston Public Library, 500 McKinney St., Houston, TX 77002, 832/393-1658, hpl.archives@cityofhouston.net.
Link to license
Citable link to this page