One Of The Worst Disasters In U.S. History Happened Right Here In Texas

March 18, 1937 — a day that will forever live in infamy.

New London, Texas boasted one of the wealthiest school districts in the country. The oil business was booming in East Texas, and the shiny, new, steel-framed building was a direct reflection of that. The day started just as any other did students filed into their classrooms and listened intently while their teachers spoke about science, history, math, and reading. That afternoon, as the children were preparing for an Inter-scholastic meet the following day, a worker in a nearby building turned on a sanding machine filled with a deadly mixture of gas and air.

The very moment that switch was flipped, the chemicals ignited and produced a roaring fire that became trapped in a space underneath the school. Reminiscent of a scene from a movie, the force of the explosion lifted the building in the air before sending it straight into the ground. The walls collapsed and the roof caved in, burying its victims under thousands of pounds of debris. The catastrophe was so loud that it was heard miles away by oilfield workers.

When it was all said and done, 294 of the 500 students and staff members died in the explosion, making it the deadliest disaster of its kind in the history of the nation. Take a look at this captivating video featuring survivors recounting the horrific experience:

Have you heard of the New London School Explosion? Do you know anyone who survived it or attended the school after it was rebuilt?