The Great Molasses Flood of Boston

The Great Molasses Flood of Boston
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.97

     challenging words:    sugary, disaster, natural, flood, molasses, repairing, spilled, huge, syrup, inch, storm, notice, ocean, instead, million, people

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The Great Molasses Flood of Boston
By Kimberly Meaney

1     On January 15, 1919, a disaster occurred in Boston, Massachusetts. A flood killed 21 people and hurt many more. It was not a natural disaster. It was not a flood from lots of rain or snow. It was not a flood from the ocean or a storm. It was a flood of something very sticky and sugary and messy. It was molasses. Molasses is a brown, sugary, sticky food that is made to help make food and drink taste sweeter and to put in cattle feed.
2     In 1919, a molasses company kept its product in a huge tank that held over two million gallons. The tank was over fifty feet tall. The tank had leaked before, but instead of repairing it, the company painted the tank brown to cover it up. Molasses is brown, and the people who painted it thought no one would notice the sticky stuff leaking out if it was the same color.
3     In January, when it is usually cold, the weather turned warm. Because molasses is cooked hot and the weather was unusually warm, the big tank with over two million gallons of molasses exploded. It exploded so violently that it even broke metal bars around it that were 1/2 inch thick. The molasses spilled out so fast and heavily it even picked up a truck and dragged it across the street. The molasses knocked over some buildings and drowned people. It took a very long time to clean it all up. It flowed out in a wave as high as 35 feet. It flowed down many streets and many blocks.

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