Scenes from a Tool Shed, #2…


There is no limit to what can be found in an Iowan tool shed. For example, in this photo that I took in 2013, you can see some life preservers, a weed trimmer, a palette, some pipes, a piece of linked metal chain, concrete blocks, a post hole pounder, a part of an old shock absorber and some other miscellaneous junk. Whenever you need something on the farm, a good place to go look for it is the tool shed. You see, a couple of the great lessons learned on the farm is that 1) you make do with what you have and get creative in solving problems; 2) just as you get out of the soil what you put in, the same is true with life.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1978, a truck carrying liquid gas crashed into a campsite, crowded with vacationers, in San Carlos de la Rapita, Spain. The resulting explosion killed more than 200 people; many others suffered severe burns.

Shortly after 3 p.m. on a hot day on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, a 38-ton truck carrying propylene gas, used in the manufacture of alcohol, was traveling on a small, winding road 120 miles south of Barcelona. The truck, owned by Cisternas Reunidas, may have been on this coastal road instead of the nearby turnpike in order to avoid paying a toll. For unknown reasons, the truck crashed into a cement wall. (Some witnesses report seeing a fire on the truck before the crash.)

Down a hill from the cement wall, 800 people, mostly families on vacation from Germany and France, were camped out near the beach in tents and makeshift bungalows. The truck, carrying 1,500 cubic feet of pressurized liquid gas, plunged down the hill and exploded in a massive fireball. Flames shot up 100 feet into the air, killing many people instantly. The resulting crater was 20 yards in diameter. The huge fire and explosion also caused the camper’s portable gas units and cars to blow up. Few of the survivors were wearing any protective clothing other than a bathing suit and many of them suffered horrible burns.

The timing of the disaster also contributed to the high casualty toll. Coming just after lunch, many people had not yet returned to the nearby beach. In all, 215 people lost their lives. So many German citizens were involved that German officials arranged for an airlift of doctors and equipment from Stuttgart to assist in the relief effort.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: given its chemical makeup, astronomers hypothesize that if you could taste the dust from the nebula that gave birth to our sun, it would taste like raspberries.



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