Timeline of Homeland Security Events and Milestones


Flint Water Crisis

(Credit: Ray Crayton/ USAF)

April 2014: Flint, MI loses access to safe, reliable drinking water when the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to Flint River, which has been found contaminated with high concentrations of lead.

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West Fertilizer Company Fire and Explosion

(Credit: CSB)

April 17, 2013: The fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Company (WFC) in West, Texas was described as “one of the most destructive incidents ever investigated by the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB).”

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San Bruno Pipeline Explosion

(Credit: MisterOh/wiki user)

September 9, 2010: A PG&E pipeline ruptured and exploded in the Crestmoor residential neighborhood of San Bruno, CA.

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Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

(Credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

April 20, 2010: The Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform explodes and starts the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. Millions of barrels of oil is released into the Gulf of Mexico over a span of 87 days.

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Upper Big Branch Mine Disaster

(Credit: Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin)

April 5, 2010: A coal mine located in Montcoal, West Virginia suffers a massive coal dust explosion started as a methane ignition.

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Tennessee Ash Spill

(Credit: Tennessee Valley Authority)

December 22, 2008: an ash pond dike broke, which released 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash. The spill covered over 300 acres of Watts Bar Reservoir.

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I-35 Bridge Collapse

(Credit: Clindberg/Flikr user)

August 1, 2007: The Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis, MN collapses into the river with no warning. Approximately 120 vehicles went down with the 40-year old bridge, including a school bus full of children.

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Waco Siege Ended

(Credit: FBI)

April 19, 1993: The 51-day Waco Seige standoff ended when the the Branch Davidian compound was engulfed by fires set by the Davidians, after the FBI used tear gas in an attempt to force the occupants to leave.

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Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

(Credit: NARA)

March 24, 1989: Oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck Bligh Reef in Prince William Sound, Alaska, spilling more than 11 million gallons of crude oil. The spill was the largest in U.S. history and caused marine life, communities, and industries to suffer.

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Three-Mile Island Accident

(Credit: John G. Kemeny et al/TMI President’s Commission)

March 28, 1979: The Three Mile Island Unit 2 (TMI-2) reactor, near Middletown, Pa., partially melted down and was the most serious accident in U.S. commercial nuclear power plant operating history.

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Hurricane Creek Mine Disaster

(Credit: Upike94/wiki user)

December 30, 1970: A blast tore through mine shafts 15 and 16 Finely Mine. Just a month earlier, the Bureau of Mine had declared the mine an imminent danger.

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Texas City Disaster

(Credit: Alfred S. Gerson/wiki user)

April 16, 1947: Docked in Texas City, TX, the S.S. Grandcamp, loaded with a cargo 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, suddenly and mysteriously caught fire and then exploded. This incident was considered the largest industrial disaster of its time in the U.S.

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The Dust Bowl

(Credit: George E. Marsh/NOAA)

1930s: Between the years 1930-1940, the Great Plains suffered a severe drought that only further destroyed the already over-farmed and over-grazed land. It would last for nearly a decade, but effects could be felt for years after.

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Influenza Epidemic of 1918

(Credit: U.S. Army)

1918-1919: Known as the “Spanish Flu” or “La Grippe”, the Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919 struck hard and fast, and in just one year dropped the American life expectancy by 12 years.

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