On January 15, 1919, just as Martin Clougherty was waking from a nap, a towering wall of syrup slammed into his bedroom and swept him into the middle of the street. Battered but conscious, he managed to stand in the chest-deep mire flowing past him and wipe great globs of gunk from his eyes. Here and there the splintered remains of his house drifted on a sea of thick, amber fluid. Heaving himself onto a raft of passing debris—his bed frame—he spied a hand just above the muck. He grabbed it and pulled, eventually lifting a gasping woman onto the raft: his sister, Teresa.