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Fifty years ago on October 4, 1960 an explosion rocked the Tennessee Eastman Company plant. The explosion was centered in the aniline division of the plant. The blast was felt all around the city and even buildings downtown, which are over a mile away, were damaged.
Sixteen people were killed as a result of the explosion and 200 more were injured.
Local photographer Thomas McNeer captured excellent shots of the event as it unfolded.
Most of McNeer’s photos were taken at Holston Valley Community Hospital where hundreds gathered to check on loved ones, give blood and lend a hand.
For more information on the Eastman Explosion you may want to check out Pete Dykes’ “The Eastman Explosion Tragedy.”
Here is a description of the book~
The sudden unexpected explosion at the Tennessee Eastman Aniline Plant in October, 1960, brought horrific death and destruction to the huge Kingsport industrial complex. Following the shattering blast, nearby storage tanks of chemicals exploded as well, adding to the growing piles of rubble and debris that heaped up, burying bodies and body parts in a desolate scene of destruction. Flames spread, and multiple drums of stored material exploded as the heat reached them. Nothing like this had ever happened at the forty year old facility, where more than twelve thousand employees earned their livings. “The Eastman Explosion Tragedy” takes the reader back in time with eyewitness accounts of that terrible day in East Tennessee.
The Archives of the City of Kingsport have several collections that pertain to the Eastman Explosion so come on down to the archives and check them out.