The 1965 Montreal Canada Apartment House Explosion: Some Notes and Comparisons With The Indianapolis, Indiana Coliseum Explosion
Disaster Research Center
On March 1, 1965, an explosion occurred in an apartment house in Ville LaSalle, a municipality of 41,000 people seven miles southwest of Montreal, Canada. The blast and subsequent fire caused extensive damage, almost completely destroying the twenty-four apartments located in one of the three-story, U-shaped buildings, damaging the other structures in the project complex, forcing the residents to evacuate, and blowing out windows in the buildings in the surrounding blocks. The blast left a crater some twenty feet deep; the explosion was heard a mile away. Twenty-seven persons were killed with twenty-nine out of forty-eight injured being hospitalized. Fifteen of those killed were children. The same day two DRC staff members left for Montreal to conduct a general study of organizational response to this disaster. Although not a community disaster by the center's criteria, two characteristics of the Montreal explosion suggested possible implications for disaster research: first, since the explosion occurred in Canada, there was the possibility of making general cross-cultural comparisons with typical responses in the United States; and secondly, because the Montreal disaster was comparable in some respects to the 1963 Coliseum explosion in Indianapolis, limited but more specific analyses of similar organizations under similar conditions were possible.
Coliseum Explosion, Indianapolis, Indiana, Apartment House explosion, Montreal, Canada