Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Historical Event’ Category

December 7, 1941: Lest we forget

12/6/1907: The worst mining disaster in American history.

History Channel

An explosion in a network of mines owned by the Fairmont Coal Company in Monongah kills 361 coal miners.

12/6/1917: A Belgian steamer and French freighter, both loaded with ammunition, explode in Canada’s Halifax Harbor, leveling part of the town and killing nearly 1,600 people and injuring approximately 8,000.

History Channel


12/5/1876: A fire at the Brooklyn Theater in New York kills nearly 300 people and injures hundreds more

History Channel

“….Sometime near the start of the performance, a gas light ignited some extra scenery stored in the fly space behind the stage. It wasn’t until midway through the play that stagehands noticed the quickly spreading flames. Unfortunately, there were no fire hoses or water buckets at hand and the fire spread, unbeknownst to the cast and audience…..”


Dec. 3, 1984: More than 4,000 people died after a cloud of gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India.

12/1/1958: A fire at a grade school in Chicago kills 90 students

History Channel

  • Before December 1958, the building did not have any sprinklers and there were no regular preparatory drills conducted.


11/13/1970: An immense tidal wave and storm surge caused by a powerful cyclone kills over 200,000 people in East Pakistan (Bangladesh).

History Channel


Nov. 9, 1965: The great Northeast blackout occurred as several states and parts of Canada were hit by a series of power failures lasting up to 13 1/2 hours.

11/7/1940: Only four months after its completion, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State collapses.

History Channel

‘…………The Tacoma Narrows Bridge opened with great fanfare on July 1, 1940. Human traffic across the waters of the Tacoma Narrows increased dramatically, but many drivers were drawn to the toll bridge not by convenience but by an unusual characteristic of the structure. When moderate to high winds blew, as they invariably do in the Tacoma Narrows, the bridge roadway would sway from side to side and sometimes suffer excessive vertical undulations. Some drivers reported that vehicles ahead of them would disappear and reappear several times as they crossed the bridge. On a windy day, tourists treated the bridge toll as the fee paid to ride a roller-coaster ride, and the Tacoma Narrows Bridge earned the nickname “Galloping Gertie.”….Experts still disagree on the exact cause of the bridge’s destruction, but most agree the collapse was related to resonance, a phenomenon that also comes into play when a soprano shatters a glass with her voice. In the case of the Tacoma Narrows, the wind resonated with the natural frequency of the structure, causing a steady increase in amplitude until the bridge was destroyed……..’

11/5/2009: Major Nidal Malik Hasan, an Army psychiatrist, kills 13 and wounds more than 30 others, nearly all of them unarmed soldiers, during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, TX (the worst mass murder at a U.S. military installation).

History Channel



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