Texas City, TX Disaster - Explosion and Fire, Apr 1947
Just before night fell a group of priests from Houston probed deep into the smoke and wreckage, finding their way with flashlights in order to administer the last sacrament to the dead who still remained buried.
Father M. A. RECORD, of St. Thomas High School, Houston, was one of these.
"There are hundreds of bodies still to be found," he said. "It is an indescribable tragedy. I saw charred bodies being brought out and I even saw them floating in the water."
LEWIS ALEXANDER, jewelry store employee, cleaned shattered glass from every display window in his downtown store. His face was bandaged and streaked with adhesive.
"I have never heard a four-ton block buster," he said, "but now I know what they sound like." He was cut by flying glass.
He said there had been no attempt to loot his store and he had heard of no looting.
The town's picture show is wrecked. The walls and roof have caved in.
For a mile around the explosion area I could not find an undamaged home.
Tonight the work of rescue goes on. Great search lights have been brought to the scene and great tubes of light cut through the smokey[sic] wreckage.
Officers from as far away as Dallas direct traffic and aid rescue operations. The Salvation Army and the Red Cross have set up dozens of units to feed and clothe the homeless. The Navy has flown three relief planes from Hensley Field, Dallas.
People felt the explosion painfully miles from the chemical plant. JOHN MICKA, of Brooklyn, N. Y., was 12 miles away at the Navy field at Hitchcock, Tex.
"I was a few yards from the hangar," he said. "And I thought the hangar had blown up. It was really terrific."
From many persons I got a report of a ball of fire that hung in the air almost a minute after the chemical plant exploded. One of these was E. S. CASTRO.
"The fire was all mixed up with a big cloud of smoke," he said.
ROGER SHEPHERD, also told of seeing the fireball. SHEPHERD received injuries to his hand and head when when his trailer house was crushed.
I talked to one man who worked in the chemical plant and lived through the explosion. He would not give his name because he said "I have my folks in Georgia and I don't want them to know what I have been through."
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