Texas City, TX Disaster - Explosion and Fire, Apr 1947
Mayor J. C. TRAHAN said he knew of 300 dead. G. B. FINLEY state highway commission official, said at Austin that officials at the scene had indicated the toll would reach 1,200. Houston police Sergeant WILEY WHATLEY, at the disaster scene, estimated that the death total would be between 450 and 500.
The Houston Post's report from State Editor ELBERT TURNER, said that residents were racing in all directions to get out of town ahead of the expected new blasts.
Midwestern headquarters of the Red Cross at St. Louis reported that 500 bodies had been brought out of the explosion area late today and that more bodies were being found constantly.
Earlier, E. A. BOEHLER, a Houston city policeman had reported:
"Bodies can be picked up by the dozens in the first area, but you cannot get in to them."
Three Fires Sweep Destruction Scene
HOUSTON, April 16 (AP) - A Houston Chronicle reporter who flew over Texas City an hour after the blast said there were three different fires raging as a result of the blast.
He said one of these fires was along the water front, another along the Santa Fe Railroad and the third just west of the Santa Fe railroad fire in the refinery area.
He said the business district of Texas City was not afire nor was the residential area.
A Red Cross ambulance was parked within a thousand feet of the fire. Fire trucks were racing up from the south presumably Galveston.
The ship which is said to have started the fire could not be seen through the smoke.
Flying toward the blaze, the smoke could be seen from Ellington Field, approximately 30 miles away. It reached 4,000 feet.
The scene was similar to bomb destruction scenes that occurred in Europe.
One oil tank, about a thousand feet away from the blaze, was crumpled like a piece of tinfoil.
Buildings along the Santa Fe railroad tracks had had the ends blown out. The sides were intact. Pieces of metal could be seen from the air lying at the foot of the building.
AN industrial section close to the bay was afire with the biggest blaze. Smoke was poring from tanks and buildings.
An elevator and two water towers were still standing alongside the tracks. The buildings for about two thousand feet along the tracks were all burning.
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