Texas City, TX Disaster - Explosion and Fire, Apr 1947
"This," said TORRES, "was the house my brother lived in."
He went back into the ruined larger house and threw himself on a bed.
Mayor J. C. TRAHAN, who wears a Purple Heart as a souvenir of buzz bombs in Belgium, said "No buzz bomb could ever compare with what happened here today. It is such a terrific tragedy that the people have not been able to realize what has happened."
"They are bearing up with magnificent courage."
"Our neighboring cities have been wonderful. We are sending the wounded and the homeless to a dozen different communities and they are receiving them with open arms."
"In my office today I have seen hundreds of persons. All came to me with just one sentence: 'Just tell me what I can do and I'll do it."
DR. CLARENCE QUINN, who is coordinating all medical facilities, said, "I was at the New London explosion, but it was nothing to compare with this one."
DR. QUINN said most of the deaths were due to explosion and shock. A relatively small percent of the casualties were due to burns, he stated.
"I went to the scene of the ship explosion. There was no ship left. Kindling floated on dark, oily water."
Gen. JOHATHAN M. WAINWRIGHT, commanding general of the Fourth Army, arrived at the dock at the same time. He shook his head and his face was sorrowful.
" have never seen a greater tragedy in all my experiences," he said. "I have come here to offer this stricken community every facility that the Army can place at its disposal."
Fifty feet from the slip in which the exploded vessel was berthed is a great steel barge, tossed completely out of the same slip and up onto the dry land. To get in this position the barge had to hurdle a 25 foot bank.
Many tragic deaths were caused by the hurtling pieces of steel. A mile away from the chemical plant on the main street of Texas City a man driving his car was instantly killed when a chunk of metal pierced the top of the automobile and struck him in the head.
Father WILLIAM ROACH went to the docks when the ship caught fire. It was reported he had gone to administer the last sacrament to any casualties. He was caught in the explosion.
Mayor TRAHAN said, "I saw Father ROACH after he had been hurt. There were no marks on him. I am positive he died of shock." (He died later in a hospital.)
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