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The Next Catastrophe by Charles Perrow

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6 Better Vulnerability through Chemistry

On july 18, 2001, baltimore was at risk of devastation when a sixty-car train owned by CSX caught fire in a tunnel in downtown Baltimore. Several of the cars had pulp material, which caught fire, burning other cars with dangerous chemicals, one of which was hydrochloric acid. The train derailed at three in the afternoon, and by nine that night all major highways into the city were closed to incoming traffic. Local telephone service was disrupted, a baseball game canceled, and parts of the backbone of the Internet were slowed. A water main broke, flooding and collapsing streets and knocking out electric power to 1,200 people. Even weeks later it was not over; a combustible chemical appeared in city sewers ...

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