The Boston Molasses Disaster, also known as the Great Molasses Flood or The Great Boston Molasses Tragedy, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts in the United States. A large molasses treacle tank burst and a wave of molasses ran through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and residents claim that on hot summer days the area still smells of molasses.
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"Molasses, waist deep, covered the street and swirled and bubbled about the wreckage. Here and there struggled a form — whether it was animal or human being was impossible to tell. Only an upheaval, a thrashing about in the sticky mass, showed where any life was.... Horses died like so many flies on sticky fly-paper. The more they struggled, the deeper in the mess they were ensnared. Human beings — men and women — suffered likewise."
The Boston Globe reported that people "were picked up by a rush of air and hurled many feet." Others had debris hurled at them from the rush of sweet-smelling air. A truck was picked up and hurled into Boston Harbor. More than 159 were injured; 21 people and several horses were killed - some were crushed and asphyxiated by the molasses. The wounded included people, horses, and dogs; coughing became one of the biggest problems after the initial blast.