This town, about 40 miles SE of Houston Texas, is known primarily as the site of America's worst-ever industrial accident.

At 9:15 a.m. on April 16, 1947, a fire aboard a docked ship called the Grandcamp ignited its cargo, 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate intended to go to Europe as fertilizer for farmers struggling to recover from World War II.

A mushroom cloud rose into the air, two airplanes were knocked out of the sky, and windows throughout the city of 15,000 shattered. Onlookers thought that the Russians had dropped an atomic bomb (fat chance; the Russians hadn't built their first A-bomb yet).

At least 576 people were killed and another 3,500 were injured. The initial explosion shattered windows up to 25 miles (40 km) away and sent chunks of steel flying throughout the town. The blast resulted in other explosions and fires throughout the huge complex of nearby petrochemical plants. A 15-foot wave tossed a barge 200 feet away onto land.

Investigators believe a discarded cigarette triggered the blast. See, they are bad for your health.

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