10 Times, the Streets Were Flooded with Something that Was Not Water

by Sagar Nerala2 months ago
Picture 10 Times, the Streets Were Flooded with Something that Was Not Water

Floods have been occurring since time immemorial, but in recent times, they have not all involved water. Several floods have occurred around the world that do not have a drop of water in them! Various liquids have been the cause of these non-water floods, and each has led to a degree of discomfort for the people in the area. Let’s explore ten such non-water floods and the effects they had on their surroundings!

1 Beer flooded the streets of London in 1814.

The London Beer Flood
The brewery which caused the great flood of beer in the streets of London. Image Credit: Wikimedia.org

In the quiet London neighborhood of St. Giles stood the Henry Meux and Co. Brewing Company on Bainbridge Street. Within the brewery, 22-foot-tall wooden vats, encircled by iron hoops, held black fermenting beer. People, including storehouse clerk George Crick, had noticed that an iron hoop on one of the vats had slipped off. However, since this had happened before, people at the brewery didn’t think it posed any danger.

However, pressure was building inside the vats due to the fermentation, and at around 5:30 p.m. on 17 October 1814. the damaged vat burst. Five hundred seventy tons of beer smashed other casks in the brewery, causing a cascade of liquid that swept the streets and invaded homes. Eight women and children met their unfortunate end in this flood, and it has been labeled one of the most melancholic accidents in British History. (source)


2 Whiskey and fire flowed freely in the 1875 Dublin non-water floods.

Dublin whiskey fire
The Dublin Whiskety Fire threatened to destroy much of the community. Image Credit: Illustrated London News/Wikimedia.org

Also called the “Liberties Whiskey Fire of 1875,” this non-water flood led to a blaze that scorched through the oldest part of Dublin, Ireland. A fire at the Malone’s malt house and bonded warehouse caused 1,800 large barrels of whiskey to burst open, and the piping hot liquid flowed in the streets like alcoholic lava.

The flames spread in the neighborhood, aided by the flowing liquor on the street that was two feet wide and six inches deep and had stretched for over 400 meters down one side of Mill Street. People used their hands, caps, and even boots to collect and drink the whiskey. No deaths occurred due to the fire or smoke inhalation, but 13 people did pass away from alcohol poisoning, and the flood even affected the animals in the area. (12)


3 Molasses resulted in one of the stickiest non-water floods in Massachusetts.

Great Molasses Flood
The aftermath of the flood of molasses that ran through the streets of Boston. Image Credit: BPL/Wikimedia.org

On 15 January 1919, Commercial Street in Boston, Massachusetts, experienced its very first non-water flood. A 50-foot-tall steel tank holding 2.3 million gallons of sugary-sweet molasses burst open, causing a 15-foot-tall tidal wave of molasses to barrel down Commercial Street at a flow of over 35 miles per hour. People had noted the holding tank would often groan and leak molasses onto the street, but no action was taken to fix the issue.

Overall, the flood injured 150 people, and 21 succumbed to the quicksand-like substance. The owner of the holding tank, United States Industrial Alcohol, faced over 100 lawsuits by the affected parties, due to which they ultimately paid victims and family members $628,000 in damages ($8 million today). (source)


4 The non-water floods in 1919 Brooklyn were delicious.

Rockwood & Company shipping department fire
The exterior of the shipping department which caught fire and led to the flood of chocolate. Image Credit: BPL/Wikimedia.org

Rockwood & Company was a leading chocolate manufacturer in the US, second only to Hershey. On 12 May 1919, a fire broke out in their shipping department at the chocolate complex on Flushing Avenue, Brooklyn. The fire occurred due to an incident of spontaneous combustion, and the flames soon reached the sacks of cocoa seeds, chocolate bars, and butter reserves. Soon, the streets were flooded by a mixture of butter and chocolate. Thankfully, no one was hurt during this event, but the factory suffered damages to the tune of $75,000 (about $1.3 million today). (source)


5 Melted butter threatened the daily lives of people in Wisconsin in 1991.

Wisconsin butter flood
Dairy products leaking out of their packaging in Madison, Wisconsin during the fire at the warehouse. Image Credit: Portage Fire Department/Facebook.com

Another non-water flood that did not result in injuries but caused a lot of damage was the Wisconsin flood of butter, also known as the “Butter River Fire of 3 May 1991.” The cause of this flood was a malfunctioning forklift that resulted in a short circuit and leakage of flammable liquids due to the high temperatures of the machines within the Central Storage & Warehouse Co. in Madison, Wisconsin. The warehouse stored over 10 million pounds of butter, and the fire turned all of it into a five-foot-deep grease river.

The butter was flowing into the streets, and many were worried it would reach Starkweather Creek, which flowed into Lake Monona. Efforts were taken to keep dairy products away from natural and man-made water sources as they can cause great damage to the ecology of a lake. Furthermore, the total damages had reached $78 million by the end of the ordeal. (12)

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