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Congressional Record [.PDF]
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
Thursday, March 29, 2007
2007 Ron Paul 39:1
Mr. PAUL. Madam Speaker, in recognition of the sixtieth anniversary of the explosion of the Grand Camp ship in the Texas City harbor on April 16, residents of Texas City, in my congressional district, will come together to honor those who lost their lives in the 1947 explosions. I am honored to join my constituents in commemorating those who lost their lives in this tragedy.
2007 Ron Paul 39:2
Early in the morning of April 16, 1947 the Grand Camp caught fire. As the fire combined with the ammonium nitrate on the Grand Camp, a bright orange flame lit up the sky and smoke soared an estimated 2,000 feet into the air. Within seconds of the explosion, the Monsanto Chemical Plant was in flames. The fire spread quickly to the refineries that made up the Texas City industrial complex, causing entire buildings to collapse.
2007 Ron Paul 39:3
The destruction was not limited to Texas City. Windows rattled in Baytown, while a mist of black oil reigned in the city of Galveston. The tragedy and destruction did not end there. A miniature tidal wave resulted when the water from the bay, which had been driven out by the explosion, rushed in over the docks and rushed 150 feet inland, subsuming everything within its path. By nightfall, rescue workers were still searching for those trapped in the wreckage. But the devastation would continue.
2007 Ron Paul 39:4
At 1:10 a.m., another ship, the High Flyer , which was loaded with ammonium nitrate and sulfur, exploded. This explosion destroyed another ship, the Wilson B. Keene , as well as a concrete warehouse and a grain elevator.
2007 Ron Paul 39:5
A week passed before all of the fires were extinguished, and a month passed before the last body was pulled from the rubble — although some bodies were never recovered. Approximately 600 people lost their lives because of this tragedy. Almost every member of the Texas City fire department gave his life fighting the first explosion. Plant workers, dock workers, and bystanders were among the other victims. Perhaps most tragic of all, the flames claimed the lives of several children.
2007 Ron Paul 39:6
A memorial cemetery now sits near Loop 197 in Texas City as a silent reminder of the 63 unidentified dead who are buried in numbered graves. In 1980, a memorial park was created to honor the others who died in the tragedy.
2007 Ron Paul 39:7
In conclusion, Madam Speaker, I take this opportunity to join my constituents in paying my respects to those who lost their lives in the 1947 explosion of the Grand Camp in Texas City.