On November 10, 1979, a freight train carrying poisonous and explosive chemicals went off the rails while trundling through Mississauga. Several tanks filled with propane burst and exploded, sending up a ball of flame almost two km high, a sight visible from more than a 100 km away.
That was bad enough, but a ruptured chlorine tank was even worse. Chlorine is deadly and more than 200,000 people were evacuated. That was the largest peacetime evacuation in North American history until Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
This is the inspiration for Death From Above 1979’s song, “Trainwreck 1979.”
The lyrics go:
It ran off the track 11-79 while the immigrants slept
There wasn’t much time, the mayor came calling and got ’em outta bed
They packed up their families and headed upwind
A poison cloud, a flaming sky, 200,000 people and no one died
Incredibly, no one died in the disaster.