On this day: April 16

POSTED: 09:35 AM PDT Apr 15, 2013    UPDATED: 11:00 PM PDT Apr 15, 2016 

LSD's creator drops acid (accidentally) for the first time, Martin Luther King writes his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," The Rolling Stones release their debut album, and tragedy strikes Virginia Tech, all on this day.

OTD April 16 - Texas City disaster
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Alfred S. Gerson/Wikimedia Commons

1947: The French ship Grandcamp, containing ammonium nitrate fertilizer, explodes while in port in Texas City, Texas, causing much of the city to catch fire, killing almost 600 and injuring another 5,000. The incident is generally considered the worst industrial accident in U.S. history. Pictured is the SS Wilson B. Keene, a nearby ship destroyed when the cargo ship High Flyer, also carrying ammonium nitrate fertilizer, caught fire after the initial explosion and also exploded. The large piece of debris in the foreground is likely a piece of the Grandcamp.


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