This article lists notable industrial disasters, which are disasters caused by industrial companies, either by accident, negligence or incompetence. They are a form of industrial accident where great damage, injury or loss of life are caused.
Other disasters can also be considered industrial disasters, if their causes are rooted in the products or processes of industry. For example, the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was made more severe due to the heavy concentration of lumber industry, wood houses, fuel and other chemicals in a small area.
- June 28, 1988: Auburn, Indiana, improper mixing of chemicals kills four workers at a local metal-plating plant in the worst confined-space industrial accident in U.S. history; a fifth victim died two days later.
- October 23, 1989: Phillips Disaster. Explosion and fire killed 23 and injured 314 in Pasadena, Texas. Registered 3.5 on the Richter scale.
- May 1, 1991: Sterlington, Louisiana. An explosion at the IMC operated Angus Chemical Nitro-paraffin Plant Sterlington, Louisiana killed 8 workers and injured 120 other people. There was severe damage to the surrounding community. The blasts were heard more that 8 miles away. the explosion left burned out cars and chunks of twisted metal littering the streets of the town.
- September 21, 2001: Toulouse, France. An explosion at the AZF fertilizer factory killed 29 and injured 2,500. Extensive structural damage to nearby neighbourhoods.
- October 4, 2010: Alumina plant accident. Ajka, Kolontár, Devecser and several other settlements, Hungary. The dam of Magyar Aluminium Zrt.’s red mud reservoir broke and the escaping highly toxic and alkaline (~pH 13) sludge flooded several settlements. There were nine victims including a little girl and hundreds of injuries (mostly chemical burns).
- January 20, 1909: Chicago Crib Disaster. During the construction of a water intake tunnel for the city of Chicago, a fire broke out on a temporary water crib used to access an intermediate point along the tunnel. The fire began in the dynamite magazine and burned the wooden dormitory that housed the tunnel workers. 46 workers survived the fire by jumping into the lake and climbing onto ice floes or the spoil heap near the crib. 29 men were burned beyond recognition, and approximately 60 men died. Most of the remainder drowned or froze to death in the lake and were not recovered.
- April 27, 1978: Willow Island disaster. A cooling tower for a power plant under construction in Willow Island, West Virginia collapsed, killing 51 construction workers. The cause was attributed to placing loads on recently poured concrete before it had cured sufficiently to withstand the loads. It is thought to be the largest 000accident in United States history.
- July 17, 1944: Port Chicago Disaster. A munitions explosion that killed 320 people occurred at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in Port Chicago, California.
- August 9, 1965: Little Rock AFB in Searcy, Arkansas. 53 contract workers were killed during a fire at a Titan missile silo. The cause of the fire was determined to be a welding rod damaging a hydraulic hose allowing hydraulic vapors to leak and spread throughout silo, which were then ignited by an open flame source.
- March 23, 2005: Texas City Refinery explosion. An explosion occurred at a British Petroleum refinery in Texas City, Texas. It is the third largest refinery in the United States and one of the largest in the world, processing 433,000 barrels of crude oil per day and accounting for 3% of that nation’s gasoline supply. Over 100 were injured, and 15 were confirmed dead, including employees of the Fluor Corporation as well as BP. BP has since accepted that its employees contributed to the accident. Several level indicators failed, leading to overfilling of a knock out drum, and light hydrocarbons concentrated at ground level throughout the area. A nearby running diesel truck set off the explosion.
- December 11, 2005: Hertfordshire Oil Storage Terminal fire. A series of explosions at the Buncefield oil storage depot, described as the largest peacetime explosion in Europe, devastated the terminal and many surrounding properties. There were no fatalities. Total damages have been forecast as £750 million.
- February 7, 2010: 2010 Connecticut power plant explosion. A large explosion occurred at a Kleen Energy Systems 620-megawatt, Siemens combined cycle gas- and oil- fired power plant in Middletown, Connecticut, United States. Preliminary reports attributed the cause of the explosion to a test of the plant’s energy systems. The plant was still under construction and scheduled to start supplying energy in June 2010. The number of injuries was eventually established to be 27. Five people died in the explosion.
- April 20, 2010: Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. 11 oil platform workers died in an explosion and fire that resulted in a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, considered the largest offshore spill in U.S. history.
- March 2011 Fukushima I nuclear accidents
- May 2, 1878: The Washburn “A” Mill in Minneapolis was destroyed by a flour dust explosion, killing 18. The mill was rebuilt with updated technology. The explosion led to new safety standards in the milling industry.
- January 15, 1919: The Boston Molasses Disaster. A large molasses tank burst and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and residents claim that on a hot summer day, the area still smells of molasses.
- September 3, 1991: 1991 Hamlet chicken processing plant fire in Hamlet, North Carolina, where locked doors trapped workers in a burning processing plant, causing 25 deaths.
- February 7, 2008: The 2008 Georgia sugar refinery explosion in Port Wentworth, Georgia, United States. Thirteen people were killed and 42 injured when a dust explosion occurred at a sugar refinery owned by Imperial Sugar.
- May 10, 1993: Kader Toy Factory fire. A fire started in a poorly built factory in Thailand. Exit doors were locked and the stairwell collapsed. 188 workers were killed, mostly young women.
- May 13, 2000: Enschede fireworks disaster. A fire and explosion at a fireworks depot in Enschede, Netherlands leaves 22 people dead and 947 injured. About 1,500 homes are damaged or destroyed. The damage is estimated to be over US$ 300 million in insured losses.
- April 18, 2007: Qinghe Special Steel Corporation disaster. A ladle holding molten steel separated from the overhead iron rail, fell, tipped, and killed 32 workers, injuring another 6.
- February 1 2008 a illegal fireworks factory in Istanbul, located on a buildings third floor explodes, followed 5 minutes later by an explosion in the paint factory located in the buildings lower floors.
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- May 28, 1965: 1965 Dhanbad coal mine disaster took place in Jharkhand, India, killing over 300 miners.
- October 21, 1966: Aberfan disaster was a catastrophic collapse of a colliery spoil-tip that occurred in the Welsh village of Aberfan, killing 116 children and 28 adults.
- January 30, 2000: Baia Mare cyanide spill took place in Baia Mare, Romania. The accident, called the worst environmental disaster in Europe since Chernobyl, was a release of 100,000 tons of cyanide contaminated water by a Aurul mining company due to reservoir broke into the rivers Someş, Tisza and Danube. Although no human fatalities were reported, the leak killed up to 80% of aquatic life of some of the affected rivers.
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