A 50-foot wave of molasses2,300,000 gallons of itreleased in some manner yet unexplained, from a giant tank, swept over Commercial street and its waterfront from Charter street to the southerly end of North End park yesterday afternoon.
Ensnaring in its sticky flood more than 100 men, women, and children; crushing buildings, teams, automobiles, and street carseverything in its paththe black, reeking mass slapped against the side of the buildings footing Copp's Hill and then swished back toward the harbor.
Eleven personsa woman, a girl, and nine menwere the known dead at midnight. More than 50 injured were in hospitals and at their homes. Some of them may die. Dead horses, cats, and dogs have been carted away in team after team….
A rumble, a hisssome say a boom and a swishand the wave of molasses swept out. It smote the huge steel girders of the "L" structure and bent, twisted, and snapped them, as if by the smash of a giant's fist. Across the street, down the street, it rolled like a two-sided breaker at the seashore. Thirty feet high, it smashed against tenements on the edge of Copp's Hill. Swirling back it sucked a modest frame dwelling from where it nestled beside the three-story brick tenements and threw it, a mass of wreckage, under the "L" structure.
Then, balked by the staunch brick walls of the houses at the foot of the hill, the death-dealing mass swept back towards the water. Like eggshells it crushed the buildings of the North End yard of the city's paving division…To the north it swirled and wiped out practically all of Boston's only electric freight terminal. Big steel trolley freight cars were crushed as if eggshells, and their piled-up cargo of boxes and merchandise minced like so much sandwich meat.The Boston Post, January 16, 1919