Disaster Forever Remembered
In 1969, prior to the official formation of the Jones County Civil Defense, a disaster not-soon-forgotten struck in the heart of Laurel, Mississippi. Considered to be one of the worst disasters to hit the area, the effects were seen for miles. In the early morning January 25th, a train derailed, resulting in the explosion of 16 tanker cars filled with tens of thousands of
gallons of propane gas.
The incident killed three people, hospitalized thirty-nine people, and destroyed several homes and businesses. Many witnesses described the intense heat and loud booming sound as each tanker car exploded, sending tanks high into the air. Mrs. Dace, a witness recalling the events stated, "those big tanks were flying through the air and people were in the street."
Several witnesses recall thinking that their city was under attack, due to the Vietnam War.
It was reported that the bright glow from the explosions could be seen as far away as Jackson.
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