Texas City, TX Disaster - Explosion and Fire, Apr 1947

Wreckage, Texas City, Texas Disaster, April 16, 1947 Ruins, Texas City, Texas Disaster, April 16, 1947 4 Ruins, Texas City, Texas Disaster, April 16, 1947 2 View Across the Bay Aerial View Troops evacuating civilians Ruins, Texas City, Texas Disaster, April 16, 1947 Searching for Bodies, Texas City, Texas 1947

But he told this story: "I was getting ready to leave one of the buildings at the chemical plant when the ship exploded. It knocked me down. I got up and tried to run. Just as I did the chemical plant blew up. The walls and roof came down around me and knocked me out. It was pitch dark when I came to, and I fought my way out of there. I'll never know how I got out. I am a lucky guy to be alive."

Injured List In Blast High

GALVESTON, April 16 (AP) - A partial list of injured in the Texas City Explosion follows:
BILLY G. ROBINSON, MRS. COUCH, GILBERT RAWLEY, Galveston; CORA CASH, LUPE VALDEZ, ADMONDO VALDEZ, C. J. HOOD, OTIS POINTER, RUTH HOOD, Carneck, Tex.; EUNICE POINTER, J. N. THATCKER, MRS. TURNER, C. B. DOWELL, Arkindi, Ark.; W. D. DAVIS, F. B. EDWARDS, FRANK MORGAN, Houston; MRS. G. RAWLEY, Oneal, Washington, (foregoing without address all Texas City).

Following addresses unknown:
PAUL D. DAVIS, L. P. FOSTER, MAX SMITH, P. THOMPSON, ED C. MATHIS, HARRY WATSON, A. W. JONES, ROBERT MAKE, MRS. C. H. ANDERSON, FRED GRISSON, H. G. GRISSON, H. G. BRADLEY, COLUMBUS FRAMER, NEALY BOWEN, MRS. ARRINGTON, DALE HARDWICK, ROBERT LEE RICH, E. L. PETTY, Texas City; N. E. BAKER, FRED R. WARD, E. B. HENDRICKS, DOROTHY TARPAY, B. GOLDBERG (all address unknown); HENRY WRAY, Texas City; DAVID L. FULKNER, Texas City; MARCUS BILLA, Texas City; EMORY HATCH (unknown); RAY CHANDLER, Galveston; REGINE GERSON, Texas City; CLEMENT JENNIS, Texas City; OTIS HEDDIN, Texas City; L. G. GARCIA, Texas City; R. A. ADAMS, Texas City.

A. W. JONES, Texas City; BUCK WILLIAMS, Texas City; HASKEL T. SARGENT, Galveston; EMMETT J. HARRIS, Texas City; FREDA JONES, Texas City; ARTHUR HUGHES, Texas City; J. H. LANDREY, Galveston; JAKE CAPTEAL, Texas City; ROBERT LEE PRICE, Texas City; A. N. DOWDY, Texas City; GREGORIO O. AVILA, Texas City; EARL E. HAUGHTON, Galveston; DOLORES TORRES, Texas City; YNEGEC CRISTOLA, Texas City; GRANT WHEATON, Texas City; RAY DAY, Texas City; ROBERT MAY, G. DOUGH, W. S. PECK, C. W. ADAMS (all unknown address); RICHARD BROWN, Texas City; CHESTER PRIMER, ELSIE DEWALT, FRANCISCO REYES (all address unknown); PEARL WILKENFIELD, Texas City.
J. D. CARTER, V. E. BAKER, HENRY MANTZEL, MRS. MAXINE GALBERD, FRANK BATES, VERNON LINTON, FLORENCIO JASSO, CHESTER PRINO, J. P. DECKER, MISA DOUGAL, V. G. DAVIS, CHRISTINE YULGES, REBECCA HENRY, MARGARET BRADFORD, HOWARD BLACKBURN, JOE REYES, ELSIE HEWITT, LEE SIMS, L. E. FULLER, JOE HILL, Y. J. BERNARD, J. M. O'BRIEN (all addresses unknown); BOBBY ERNSALL, Galveston; LILLIE NEVEL, GUSSIE WEYDIRT, (unknown address); J. A. HAROLD, Lamarque; CHARLES BURT HENDERSON (unknown address); E. N. WEIR, Texas City; WILLIE J. NATION, JUNE HESTER, J. E. STUTHERLAND, MR. BALEW, MR. REYNOLDS.

ISABEL GONZALES, BILLY CALHOUN, MRS. CRUCE, CHARLIE WOOD, W. A. BERTRAM, MADELYN LOCKAFELLOW, BIRDIE HALL, CARMEN GANBOS, ALBERT VALDEZ, WILLIE MAY CALLIS, ROSE TENNANT, MARY HERNANDEZ, CONROE LOFTON, FRANK FITZPATRICK, CALDER JACKSON, MR. DENMAN, ERNESTINE GUNNING, STUART WALLACE, ELMIRA JACKSON (all addresses unknown) foregoing all at John Sealy Hospital.

Continued on page 8

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Comments

My grandfather was present

My grandfather was present when that disaster happened but he was dead when my parents got married. He was working to one of the ships and my grandmother always describe it as a nightmare. After the incident my grandfather can't talk clearly and he also suffered concussion. One year after the incident he died and everytime I heard about Texas Fire, I always remembered him.

Survivors

My dad was six years old at the time of the explosions living several blocks from the explosion. He recalls that my grandmother had just picked up my uncle, who was about 7 months old, out of his high chair when the explosion hit. The windows were blown out on one side and in on the other side. A large piece of glass was embedded in the back of the high chair! If my grandmother had been distracted or waited just a few more minutes to get him out of his high chair my uncle would have been killed and four of my cousins would never have been born.
This disaster left an indelible image on my grandparents and my father's lives.

Dads with PTSD

I am a WWII daughter of a man that came back from the European campaign, inc. the Battle of the Bulge. He was decorated. He came back to work with his father on the docks and railroad. He lost his father that day, and almost lost his leg. He too used alcohol to self medicate as there were no means and diagnosis such as shell shock and he now had my g.mother to care for. I feel your sense of loss for the full life our dads should have led.

Texas City Fire '47

My father was in the Army at the time of the "Texas Fire," stationed in Texas for medic training. He joined the military after World War II, so he had not seen any war action. At this terrible time of emergency, he was only 18-years old; and, his unit was ordered to the docks to help with medical treatment.

Although he would never talk about what happened, my mother told us he was never the same after that terrible disaster. Apparently he told her that one in three people he saw were dead and that what he saw was horrific. With the indelible imprint of seeing indescribable injuries and painful death upon death, he suffered from severe panic attacks and terrible anxiety the rest of his life at a time when there was no diagnosis and no treatment for his crippling disorder. The next year, he had what the military called, "a nervous breakdown" and he left the military. He was ostracized his entire life because his emotional disabilities prevented him from keeping a job. I remember more than once being in the back seat of his car with my brothers when we passed a house fire. My dad would became so upset he had to pull over to try to get control of his emotions so he could take us home.

As a talented musician, singer and extremely intelligent man who could have done anything, he-- a non-drinker-- eventually began to use alcohol to treat his debilitating symptoms himself, and became an alcoholic.

About two years before he died at age 71, a doctor at a V.A. hospital diagnosed dad with post-traumatic stress disorder and related it to the Texas Fire. This man's entire life was affected by this hideous incident. He received no help or treatment from the military, was not supported to re-build his life after the event, and his family received no help, so we grew up very poor. My mom always worked full time and took care of everything. She tried hard to not give up on him because she knew what he went through and what a different person he was before the fire.

His musical "band" of entertainers back then were Jimmy Dean, Roy Clark and others who are classic C/W players. As lead singer and player of all stringed instruments, he could have been called the talent of the group. When they had their big call to NYC, he could not go-- his nerves simply could not take it. This fire destroyed in many ways-- some that are just being discovered. What would it have been like for us to have a "normal" dad who had not been through the experience no 18-year old should ever be around? Or, if this illness could have been treated when he was young, what would he have achieved? We also wonder if the chemical blast had anything to do with the throat and lung cancer he died of. Whenever I hear about this fire, I can only wonder.

Texas City explosion remembered

My parents were married in Austin on April 16, 1947, and many times over the years they mentioned the explosion on that day. Many years later there was a tv special about the Texas City explosion and I understood why it was so ingrained in their memories. A tragic day for so many.