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Alco Fireworks Plant Explosion

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In the afternoon of June 5, 1953 the Alco Fireworks Plant at 1208 Rosine Street in Montrose exploded with a force of two tons killing two women and two children and injuring about 70 others. It destroyed the warehouse and several houses nearby. In hindsight, having a fireworks plant in the middle of a neighborhood doesn't really seem like a good idea to begin with. Does anyone remember this event?

Alco_Fireworks_Explosion.jpg

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In hindsight, having a fireworks plant in the middle of a neighborhood doesn't really seem like a good idea to begin with.

Boy, ain't that the truth!

I work near Rosine Street. I wonder what's there now? Probably a condo although I can't quite see it from here.

Wonder if anyone there knows that history?

Edited by Firebird65

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I had never heard of that one, but it was before my time. The one I do remember is the train derailment and tank car explosion on Mykawa. Killed a firefighter and injured several.

Mykawa Tank Car Explosion

joe

My neighbor was hurt in that explosion. James P. Clooney. I think he retired after that and died not much later

Firefighters admitted to hospitals were: James M. Honea, asst. fire chief; Jim P. Clooney, district chief, Sta. 35; and Vernon E. Rogers, district chief, administrative office.

James P. Clooney

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In the afternoon of June 5, 1953 the Alco Fireworks Plant at 1208 Rosine Street in Montrose exploded with a force of two tons killing two women and two children and injuring about 70 others. It destroyed the warehouse and several houses nearby. In hindsight, having a fireworks plant in the middle of a neighborhood doesn't really seem like a good idea to begin with. Does anyone remember this event?

Alco_Fireworks_Explosion.jpg

I lived on W. Gray at the time...must have been about 7 years old. Thanks for the photo...the first I've ever seen of the site.

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I remember this very well.  Our address was 1027 Rochow Street. It would be in the center of this picture, in the blackened part.  

 

I was 24, mother of two babies, a 22 month old son, & an 3 1/2 month old baby girl.  I stood in my kitchen finishing up after doing laundry.  Had just hung up the last of the cloth diapers..

The blast created a vacuum first, which moved me toward my front door.  Then the roof came down.  I remember either thinking or shouting "God help me find my babies."  Then it seemed a long time, I was standing barefoot on top if a pile of broken lumber.  I could see my baby on her quilt in the playpen near two front windows and a large dresser mirror,  A lamp shade covered her, shielding her from the broken glass.  I grabbed her, turned, and saw my little son, standing in his crib. The only upright wall remaining was by that crib, and the outer wall of his room was leaning at an angle over the crib.  I made my way across debris, put my son under the other arm and made way away from the heat.  I was barefoot. The ground was very hot. 

 

I crossed the street near where Rochow meets another street, near a store. Sat on a grassy cool place, where the police found us and took us to a downtown hospital,  I think it was Methodist. Before all the medical center was built out South Main.

 

I am 87 years old now, a retired teacher.  That son is now a retired OR  nurse, and computer expert, and a  veteran of the Air Force.  That baby girl is a  retired legal secretary. They both have children and grandchildren.  And I  had two other children after this, both intelligent, capable, and raising good families.   We are all grateful for life. 

 

I send both of those "kids" second birthday cards on June 5, every year.

Edited by Carolyn McElrath
typing error
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From Google Earth, the fireworks plant seemed to be a small building, no more than the size of a typical fireworks warehouse today (the "Top Dog" buildings which even today sit among residential/commercial areas like along 290 in Cypress). The explosion area took out what looks like small cottages to the immediate west. Best I could tell, the parking area behind the southern tower (of the two residential high-rises that sit on Rosine between Clay and Dallas) is where the building was.

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Never saw any follow-up to the original article. Was any legal action taken against ALCO? Who was the owner of ALCO? Any additional information?

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