19 Astonishing Facts
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On 20 October 1944 an above ground gas storage tank in Cleveland, Ohio started leaking. The ensuing disaster killed 130 people and left 600 homeless


On Friday, 20 October 1944 residents of Cleveland East, Ohio were going about their business in the usual way, not realizing that by that afternoon 130 people would have died and many would have lost their homes and their life's savings.

By 2:30 pm an above storage tank storing liquefied natural gas, started leaking from a side seam. It was located at the East Ohio Gas Company's tank farm near Lake Erie.

Winds from the lake pushed the vapor into a mixed use section of Cleveland, where it dropped into the sewer lines via the street gutters.

When it mixed with air and sewer gas, the mixture ignited and exploded, and the jets of fire that was sent up from the sewer lines blew manhole covers into the sky. One was found several miles east, in Glenville!

That was not the end of it. At 3:00 pm another above ground tank exploded, leveling the tank farm. Explosions and fires continued to occur, travelling through sewers and up through drains. Many housewives found themselves trapped in their burning homes.

The county coroner estimated the death toll to be 200, but it was actually 130. Six hundred people were left homeless as 70 homes, 2 factories, numerous cars and miles of underground infrastructure were destroyed.

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