How it happened was senseless.
Something like 2,500 died. The explosion literally incinerated such a large area they couldn’t be certain. More than 9,000 wounded.
“This may be the only photograph of the remnants of blast itself reportedly taken 15-20 seconds after the explosion.
“Indications are that it was taken at Bedford Basin, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, from approximately a mile’s distance looking southeast.
“Although the National Library and Archives Canada description estimates the distance from the explosion as 21 km/13 mi, the actual location and distance have never been firmly established.
“However, the height of the blast at its peak was measured at 3,600 metres (11,811 feet or 2.25 miles) on a sextant by Captain W. M. A. Campbell of the Canadian merchant ship, Acadian, approximately 28 km (18 mi) from the harbour approaches. This measurement is consistent with the time-frame of 15-20 seconds at a distance of 1 mile.
“Furthermore, documented photographic evidence from the Ron Fralick Collection (photo reference numbers: 16,274 & 16,275 – Maritime Museum of the Atlantic) clearly shows the size, shape and direction of the blast cloud as it passed by York Redoubt and indicates that the original photograph was probably taken from Bedford Basin.”
— Wikimedia Commons
But the day was also marked by one astounding act of self sacrifice ~ heroism ~ that saved the lives of hundreds more.
View looking south showing damage caused by the Halifax Explosion ~ public domain image from a rolled photographic print of a photograph taken by an unknown photographer via Library and Archives Canada