Texas City held memorial ceremony in honor of deadly 1947 explosion

Texas City leaders and residents gathered on Saturday to honor the anniversary of the 1947 Texas City Disaster.

The ceremony, held at the Showboat Pavilion, is in remembrance of the Texas City Disaster which occurred on April 16, 1947. Survivors will be in attendance of the event, along with a solemn bell ringing ceremony to pay tribute to the 27 Texas City firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice while responding to the catastrophic explosion.

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The Texas City Disaster began as a fire which erupted aboard the SS Grandcamp docked in the port. An explosion was set off after the heat and pressure from the fire reached the ammonium nitrate cargo at 9:12 a.m. causing shattered windows miles away in Houston and cargo to go 2,000 to 3,000 feet in the air.

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19th April 1947:  The aftermath of an explosion in Texas City in which 400 people were killed and more than 3,000 were injured. A huge steel barge weighing 150 tons was raised from the  ship basin to dry land, taking with it several cars.  (Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Hundreds of people, including employees, pedestrians and bystanders were killed. One member of Texas City's volunteer fire department survived.

The force of the explosion generated a 15-foot tidal wave that hit the dock and surrounding areas, leaving buildings flattened and streets strewn with debris. The Monsanto plant nearby was obliterated.

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This explosion is referred to as one of the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history.

At Saturday's event, survivor's will share their accounts of the deadly incident and showcase local historical resources at Moore Memorial Library and the Texas City Museum.