Mont-Blanc exploded with a force
than any manmade explosion before it.
The steel hull burst sky-high, falling in a blizzard
of red-hot, twisted projectiles on Dartmouth and Halifax.
Some pieces were tiny; others were huge. Part of
the anchor hit the ground more than 4 kilometers away on the far side
of Northwest Arm. A gun barrel landed in Dartmouth more than 5 kilometers
from the harbour.
After the Blast
The explosion sent a white cloud
billowing 20,000 feet above the city.
For almost two square kilometers around Pier 6, nothing
was left standing. The blast obliterated most of Richmond: homes, apartments
and business, even the towering sugar refinery.
On the Dartmouth side, Tuft's Cove took the brunt
of the blast. The small Mi'kmaq settlement of Turtle Grove was obliterated.
More than 1500 people were killed outright; hundreds
more would die in the hours and days to come. Nine thousand people, many
of whom might have been safe if they hadn't come to watch the fire, were
injured by the blast, falling buildings and flying shards of glass.
And it wasn't over yet.
Within minutes the dazed survivors were
awash in water. The blast provoked a tsunami
that washed up as high as 18 meters above the harbour's high-water mark
on the Halifax side.
People blown off their feet by the explosion now hung on for their lives
as water rushed over the shoreline, through the dockyard and beyond Campbell
Road (now Barrington Street).
The tsunami lifted Imo onto the Dartmouth
shore. The ship stayed there until spring. City