Finding aid for the East Ohio Gas Explosion and Fire Photographs

Repository: Western Reserve Historical Society
Creator: Various
Title: East Ohio Gas Explosion and Fire Photographs
Dates: 1944
Extent: 0.42 linear feet (1 container and 2 oversize folders)
Abstract: The East Ohio Gas Company Explosion and Fire occurred in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 20, 1944. A tank, constructed at the northern end of East 61st Street in 1942 to store reserves of liquid natural gas for local war industries, began to leak vapor which, when mixed with air, became combustible and exploded. It contained the equivalent to 90 million cubic feet of non-liquified gas and set off the most disastrous fire in Cleveland's history. A second tank exploded about twenty minutes after the first. Homes and businesses in the largely Slovenian-American neighborhood were set ablaze through an area of more than one square mile of Cleveland's east side. The affected area had boundaries of St. Clair Avenue NE, East 55th Street, East 67th Street, and the Memorial Shoreway. A wall of fire engulfed the area, destroying some homes while leaving others untouched. As the gas vaporized, it flowed through gutters and along curbs until it reached catch basins and the underground sewage system, causing streets to explode and manhole covers to blow off. The gas eventually flowed into homes and businesses via the sewage system, causing further explosions, destruction, and injuries. By the following day the fire had largely burned out but the damage was immense, including 79 houses, 2 factories, and 217 cars. The explosion and fire killed 130 people. As a result of the fire and the analysis of its causes, new and safer alternatives to storing natural gas were developed. The collection consists of 432 black and white prints of various sizes including six panoramas detailing the damage caused by the East Ohio Gas Company explosion and fire on October 20, 1944.
PG Number PG 575
Location: closed stacks
Language: The records are in English