2017 Great Molasses Flood! The True Story of Our Greatest Disaster
Boston, 1919. With Prohibition in full swing and the whole country partaking in a general celebration of an abstinence from drink, the Molasses Company began to produce massive amounts of this sweet cereal syrup that had many industrial uses. Not only could you sweeten gingerbread with molasses, but it was also used in the production of munitions and in cutting down on gasoline emissions from automobiles. The giant molasses storage tanks sat at the end of Commercial Street, filling the area with a sweet smell that could be smelled for miles around. It was on this fated day, January 15th 1919, that all hell broke loose.
The company manager, John McLaughlin, tried to prevent any mishap from happening by ordering the plant’s shut down before the New Year. Every department was ordered to be in complete readiness for shutdown as well. This caused a number of problems for sanitation and safety workers as they had to prove their discretion and competency by being in place and ready for shutdown by January 15th.