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Weirdest flood. Ever. You would not want to have been in this sticky situation!

The Great Molasses Flood occurred on January 15, 1919 in Boston, Massachusetts. 2,300,000 gallons of molasses was waiting to be fermented into alcohol in a tank 50 feet tall when the tank collapsed and the molasses rushed through the streets. Some witnesses claimed that the ground shook shortly before the molasses covered them. A disastrous wave of molasses about 25 feet tall destroyed almost everything in its path. People were thrown around the city due to the wave; horses died, and even a truck was picked up and flung into Boston Harbor! After this devastating and strange incident, about 21 men, woman, and children lay dead. The molasses coated the bodies like glue so that some of the remains could not be identified, and over 150 people were injured.

After firefighters and nurses from the Red Cross came to help the surviving victims, there was a lot of figuring out to do. It was revealed that the tank had been constructed poorly and tested insufficiently, and the carbon dioxide from the fermentation process might have increased pressure on the brittle tank. There were also cracks in the tank, and many leaks; the construction workers simply painted the tank brown to hide the leaks. Arthur Jell, the primary construction worker, had neglected to check the tank to make sure that it was stable, and neglected safety checks. This project was hasty due to the conclusion that prohibition would occur soon; sure enough, the 18th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified the next day. There were even lawsuits, very rare in Massachusetts at the time, against the company that created the tank, and most of the local residents won.

This strange but devastating flood impacted the local community very much, and still does, having become local folklore. This serves as an example that even the strangest things can happen, whether we’re prepared for it or not.

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