The Hamlet chicken processing plant fire was an industrial disaster
that took place at the Imperial Foods chicken processing plant in
Hamlet, North Carolina, USA, on September 3, 1991 after a failure in a
faulty modification to a hydraulic line. Twenty-five people were
killed and fifty-four injured in the fire as they were trapped behind
locked fire doors. Due to a lack of inspectors, the plant had never
received a safety inspection in eleven years of operation, and it is
thought that a single inspection would have easily prevented the
tragedy. A full federal investigation was launched, which resulted in
the owner receiving a 20-year prison sentence, and the company
received the highest fines ever handed out in the history of North
Carolina. However, the investigation also highlighted failings in the
authoritative enforcement of existing safety regulations, and resulted
in a number of worker safety laws being passed. Accusations of racism
were leveled at both the fire service and the city of Hamlet in the
aftermath of the fire. The plant was never reopened. The fire remains
the worst industrial disaster ever to strike North Carolina, and the
third worst American industrial disaster, with only the 1947 Texas
City disaster and the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire being
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Today's selected anniversaries:
San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world's
oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Saint Marinus.
Egyptian Mamluks defeated the Mongols at the Battle of Ain Jalut in
Palestine, marking the point of maximum westward expansion of the
Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris,
formally ending the American Revolutionary War.
The National Flag of Australia, a Blue Ensign defaced with the
Commonwealth Star and the Southern Cross, flew for the first time atop
the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne.
The NASA Viking 2 spacecraft landed on Mars and took the first
close-up, color photos of the planet's surface.
Wiktionary's Word of the day:
sublimate: (<i>physics</i>): To change state from a solid to a gas (or
from a gas to a solid) without passing through the liquid state.
Wikiquote of the day:
A harbor, even if it is a little harbor, is a good thing, since
adventurers come into it as well as go out, and the life in it grows
strong, because it takes something from the world, and has something
to give in return. -- Sarah Orne Jewett