4/16/1947 the Texas City, Texas disaster killed 581 including twenty-seven firefighters and 3,500 were injured when 2,300 tons ammonium nitrate fertilizer aboard the SS Grandcamp exploded. Smoke was spotted from one of the cargo holds, fearing damaging the cargo the hold was secured attempting to smother the (oxidizer) fire, at 9:00 a.m. “a pretty gold, yellow color flame with an orange smoke” erupted from the hold and within minutes it exploded. “The Grandcamp’s explosion triggered the worst industrial disaster, resulting in the largest number of casualties, in American history. Such was the intensity of the blasts and the ensuing confusion that no one was able to establish precisely the number of dead and injured. Ultimately, the Red Cross and the Texas Department of Public Safety counted 405 identified and 63 unidentified dead. Another 100 persons were classified as “believed missing” because no trace of their remains was ever found. Estimates of the injured are even less precise but appear to have been on the order of 3,500 persons. Although not all casualties were residents of Texas City, the total was equivalent to a staggering 25 percent of the towns estimated population of 16,000. Aggregate property loss amounted to almost $100 million, or more than $700 million in today’s monetary value. Even so, this figure may be too low, because this estimate does not include 1.5 million barrels of petroleum products consumed in flames, valued at approximately $500 million in 1947 terms. Refinery infrastructure and pipelines, including about fifty oil storage tanks, incurred extensive damage or total destruction. The devastated Monsanto plant alone represented about $ 20 million of the total. Even though the port’s break-bulk cargo-handling operations never resumed, Monsanto was rebuilt in little more than a year, and the petrochemical industry recovered quickly. One-third of the town’s 1,519 houses were condemned, leaving 2,000 persons homeless and exacerbating an already-serious postwar housing shortage. Over the next six months, displaced victims returned as houses were repaired or replaced, and most of those who suffered severe trauma appear to have recovered relatively quickly. What could never be made good was the grief and bleak future confronting more than 800 grieving widows, children, and dependent parents.”
4/16/1916 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter died while operating at an alarm.
4/16/1941 a Grand Rapids, Michigan firefighter “died from blunt trauma after being trapped.”
4/16/1946 a Methuen, Massachusetts firefighter “died from blunt trauma after a fall.”
4/16/1946 a Chicago, IL firefighter “collapsed while fighting a 4-11 fire at a factory at 2614 W. 19th Street. The fire caused $50,000 in damage, and the flames from the fire shot fifty feet into the air, sent up a 1,000-foot column of smoke, and attracted 10,000 spectators. Firefighters responding to the alarm also sought to contain the fire’s flying embers from igniting neighboring houses, and to prevent the flames from spreading to the adjacent three-story building. Suburban trains were delayed by hose lines across nearby tracks.”
4/16/1980 a Prince George’s County, Glenn Dale, Maryland firefighter died after a gas explosion during building fire. “On arrival, crews began conducting a search of the building to assure all residents had evacuated and commenced ventilation of the building. He was working in the front of the building clearing windows in an effort to assist crews who were operating inside the structure. Without warning, a massive natural gas explosion occurred, collapsing two floors of the building as well as a large portion of the brick façade from the building into the area immediately in front of the structure. As the building collapsed, he was trapped beneath several tons of brick and rubble. Once rescuers reached him, it was clear that he had suffered massive and life-threatening injuries.”
4/16/1980 a Gadsden, AL firefighter “suffered smoke inhalation while operating at the scene of a fire in a single-story dwelling. He was taken to the hospital where he suffered a cardiac arrest after.”
4/16/2007 a Prince William County, Virginia firefighter “was fatally injured while trapped in the master bedroom during a wind-driven residential structure fire. His death was caused by thermal and inhalational injuries.”
4/16/2012 a Brooklyn, New York (FDNY) firefighter died “while battling a three-alarm fire in Bushwick, Brooklyn. He led a team of firefighters who stretched and operated a hoseline in a mezzanine area of the first floor. While battling the fire, he became overheated and collapsed. Firefighters from Ladder 112 removed him on a stretcher to the street where he initially was conscious and alert. He was placed in an ambulance, and EMS personnel began to treat him when he suddenly became unconscious, he was rushed by ambulance to Woodhull Hospital where he later died.”
4/16/1996 fire destroyed the 85,000 square foot single-story noncombustible Lowe’s bulk retail store in Albany, GA at approximately 11:21 a.m. The fire started in a 20-foot-high rack used to store calcium hypochlorite pool chemicals with only ceiling sprinkler protection with a hydraulically design discharge density of 0.33 gpm/ft2 over 3,000 square feet. “The rapidly growing fire appears to have overwhelmed the building’s sprinkler systems, and fire conditions prohibited firefighters from performing interior fire fighting operations upon their arrival.”
4/16/1984 a plywood manufacturing plant, the International Paper Company, in Nacogdoches, Texas was destroyed by fire around 12:25 p.m. that started during a welding operation that ignited deposits of oil, pitch, and wood dust and spread rapidly above and below the automatic sprinklers in the 218,000 undivided square foot wood structure with a 19,000 square foot steel addition that was protected throughout by twelve dry-pipe automatic sprinkler systems and two dry-pipe standpipes.
4/16/2015 an explosion around 1:56 p.m. at the Magne Gas Corporation, 150 Rainville Road in Tarpon Springs, FL killed one person and seriously injured another of the twenty-five employees in the building. “Magne Gas is a waste-to-energy company that converts liquid waste into a hydrogen-based fuel…”
416/2014 a portion of Road 1, the main artery from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, was shut down for hours when a bus caught fire near Neve Ilan. No injuries were reported.
4/16/2012 Philadelphia, PA four people were found dead in a house fire just before 5:00 a.m. “firefighters on the scene have not found any smoke detectors inside the home.”
4/16/1927 a still explosion in Chicago, IL left eight dead and damaged four buildings.
4/16/1909 St. George Hotel, a lodging house, in a large three-story frame building fire in San Francisco, CA killed six and injured six of the 180 guests around 3:00 a.m. at Howard and Eighth Streets.