DISASTER: Pluperfect Hell

The morning sun shone warm and bright. It looked like another great day for the war-fat Gulf port town of Texas City, Tex.—"The Port of Opportunity." Stores were busy, prosperous people "howdy'd" one another in the streets. Down along the waterfront, $125 million worth of oil refineries, tin smelters and chemical plants labored mightily to assure Texas City's future. Down there too was the only small blot on the day—the French freighter Grandcamp, loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer and docked some 700 ft. from the great Monsanto Chemical Co. plant, was afire....

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!