Did you know that at in 1919 a giant molasses storage tank burst and caused the Great Molasses Flood in Boston, Massachusetts? This incident is also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster. Molasses is a syrup produced while making sugar; it is very thick, sticky, and can be light or dark brown. The storage tank was 50 feet tall and 90 feet in diameter; the tank held about 2.3 million gallons of molasses. When the tank burst, it released a wave of molasses 25 feet high travelling at 35 miles per hour! Buildings were flattened and people were knocked over, tossed around, and then trapped by the wave. Several blocks were covered in 2-3 feet of molasses and it took weeks to clean up.
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Sadly 21 people were killed in the incident and about 150 people injured.
The clean-up crew of 300 people used salt water to wash away the molasses or sand to absorb the sticky liquid. The Boston Harbor was ‘brown’ with molasses for months. However, overall cleaning took much longer since the sticky molasses had been tracked from the accident site all over Boston: on the trains, other roads, into homes, and all kinds of surfaces.