Modern Marvels

Engineering Disasters 20

Season 13, Ep 56, Aired 12/6/06
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  • Episode Description
  • In March of 2005, the BP Refinery in Texas City, Texas, suffered a series of explosions that decimated a large portion of the facility and killed 15 workers. Then the unusual series of events that caused American Airlines flight 587 to fall from the sky. What happened in Times Beach, Missouri, when a local waste hauler oiled down dusty roads with oil that was laced with dioxin? Look at what went wrong with NASA's Skylab in 1974 and finally examine the fire that destroyed the gas company, Praxair, in June of 2005.moreless

  • Cast & Crew
  • Max Raphael


  • W. Scott Goldie

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  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (1)

    • Narrator: One of the world’s largest oil companies suffers a series of catastrophic explosions at its Texas City refinery, a jumbo jet mysterious crashes off Long Island days after 9/11, a deadly toxin kills the town of Times Beach, Missouri, NASA’s multi billion dollar Skylab space station is crippled seconds after takeoff, and a fire at a St. Louis gas company turn pressurized cylinders into flying missiles. Now: Engineering Disasters, on Modern Marvels.

    Notes (1)

    • Commentators: Michael Economides, PhD Editor in Chief, Energy Tribune Carolyn Merritt Chairwoman, Chemical Safety Board Donald Holmstrom Investigator, Chemical Safety Board Marilyn Leistner Last Mayor of Times Beach, MO Russell Martin Bliss Former President, Bliss Waste Oil Co. Robert Feild Project Manager, EPA Superfund Robert Benzon Investigator, NTSB Peter Garrison Aviation Writer Joseph Kerwin Scientist Astronaut, Skylab 2 Jack Kinzler Technical Services Department, NASA Robert Hall Investigator, Chemical Safety Board April Breeden Resident, Lafayette Square District Captain Michael Merchant St. Louis Fire Department Scott Edmundson Resident, Lafayette Square District

    Trivia (4)

    • According to a study by the United Steelworkers Union, there are at least 33 refineries in the United States utilizing unflared vents to dispose of volatile hydrocarbon materials.

    • According to the EPA, uncontrolled burning, especially of household products that contain chlorine, accounts for 57% of all dioxin releases into the environment.

    • Flight 587 is the second American Airlines jet to crash shortly after taking off from JFK. It’s also the second to crash from rudder failure. In 1962, American Airlines Flight 1 crashed into Jamaica Bay after a wiring failure caused its rudder to deflect uncontrollably.

    • On July 11, 1979, Skylab returned to Earth in an uncontrolled trajectory. It crashed in a remote area of Western Australia killing one cow.

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