1921: Deadly explosion of a chemical plant in Germany

All around lie debris of all kinds, bricks and stones, broken beams, beams and twisted steel rails. Not a fragment of the wall remains s...


All around lie debris of all kinds, bricks and stones, broken beams, beams and twisted steel rails. Not a fragment of the wall remains standing within a radius of two hundred meters. But further from the crater, the wreckage of the structure continues to burn, while thick yellow fumes are released, and a lot of ammonia gas.

Rescue teams, firefighters and French soldiers, equipped with gas masks, who were dispatched to the scene of the disaster, search the wreckage and constantly remove the bodies. Few of them can be identified. Large numbers of men inside the works were killed and relatively few injured survivors were found by search teams. A report says that the explosion took place in Laboratory 53 and that out of 800 men in the building none escaped death. It is also specified that several soldiers of the Occupation Army are among the victims of the disaster.

City in ruins.

The small town of Oppau, close to the work, presents a picture of desolation, around a third of the houses being destroyed. The roofs of others were torn off, like a hurricane. In the city, the death toll was heavy and there were many injured. Those who are unharmed strive to save their furniture and valuables. There were scary scenes in the cemetery, where hundreds of bodies were lying on the grass.

The explosion was so huge that its effects were felt over a wide area, causing damage and loss of life to nearby towns. In Ludwigshafen, roofs were ripped off and scores of people were killed and injured. Mannheim, which is several kilometers from Oppau, has seen all of its windows smashed, one man killed and more than fifty injured. Windows were also smashed in Worms. The sound of the explosion was heard as far as Frankfurt and the shock of the air displacement was clearly felt in Mainz. Telephone and telegraph communications were cut throughout the Oppau neighborhood, making it difficult to obtain details of the disaster.

Other explosions.

After the first large explosion, a number of others followed at intervals, and the fire, fueled by the flammable chemicals, quickly spread throughout the rest of the structure. The fire brigade immediately got to work and first aid contingents were dispatched from Landau, Speyer, Neustadt and Kaiserslautern. The French army’s health service also quickly provided effective assistance.

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Newsrust - US Top News: 1921: Deadly explosion of a chemical plant in Germany
1921: Deadly explosion of a chemical plant in Germany
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