Louisville Sewer Explosions

A street in Louisville, Kentucky, that was destroyed by a sewer explosion on Feb. 13, 1981. (Image via Unusual Kentucky)

On this date in 1981, more than two miles of streets in Louisville, Kentucky, were destroyed by a sewer explosion.

Here are some things you might not have known about the incident.

A Ralston Purina soybean processing plant suffered a massive leak of hexane, which was used as a solvent to extract soybean oil. Hexane is a highly flammable chemical that is a component of gasoline.

The hexane entered the city’s sewer and gradually spread through the system, just waiting for a spark.

At 5:16 a.m., a car near the intersection of 12th and Hill streets ignited sewer gases, triggering a series of explosions near the University of Louisville.

Police officers in a helicopter said the blasts resembled a military bombing run.

More than two miles of sewer lines were destroyed, and nearby homes and businesses were heavily damaged. Water lines to other homes and businesses were cut, leaving some residents without water for weeks.

No one was killed in the explosions. Ralston Purina paid $18 million to the Louisville sewer district and almost $9 million to the more than 16,000 plaintiffs who suffered damages. The company admitted releasing hexane, but denied negligence.

Our question: Louisville serves as the worldwide air hub for what package delivery company?

Today is World Radio Day, and Children’s Day in Myanmar.

It’s unofficially Clean Out Your Computer Day, National Tortellini Day, and Oatmeal Monday.

It’s the birthday of the first person to break the sound barrier, Chuck Yeager, who is 94; Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who is 70; and musician Peter Gabriel, who is 67.

This week in 1981, the top song in the U.S. was “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang.

The No. 1 movie was “Fort Apache, The Bronx,” while the novel “The Covenant” by James Michener topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Before the break we asked: Louisville serves as the worldwide air hub for what package delivery company?

The answer is UPS.

Now for our weekly question: In what city was UPS founded?

Submit your answer at triviapeople.com/test and we’ll add the name of the person with the first correct answer to our winner’s wall … at triviapeople.com. We’ll have the correct answer on Friday’s episode.


Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or our website.

Also, if you’re enjoying the show, please consider supporting it through Patreon.com

Please rate the show on iTunes by clicking here.

Subscribe on iOS: http://apple.co/1H2paH9

Subscribe on Android: http://bit.ly/2bQnk3m











Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.