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Donora SmogThe Donora Smog


An OnQ Special Report

Winner of two Mid-Atlantic Emmy Awards in 2003 for Outstanding Informational Feature and Outstanding Writing


This Western Pennsylvania tragedy put the word "pollution" in America's vocabulary.

In October of 1948, an air inversion prevented industrial plant smoke and fumes from rising into the atmosphere above Donora, Pennsylvania. The resulting smog hovered over the small town and nearby communities, killing 20 people and sickening thousands. A federal investigation into the disaster paved the way for the Clean Air Act of 1963, and laid the groundwork for the Environmental Protection Agency.

This mini-documentary features rare archival images and compelling interviews with Donora natives who experienced the infamous smog. It is brought to you by the award-winning team of writer/producer David Solomon, reporter/narrator Andy Masich and photographer/editor Paul Ruggieri.

Donora during the dayRight: Daytime in Donora when the smog hovered in October 1948.


Below, left: Dr. Devra Davis, epidemiologist/author of "When Smoke Ran Like Water," a book on the Donora Smog. Below, right: Donora firefighter Bill Schempp took oxygen to smog victims' homes.
Devra DavisBill Schempp
Eileen Loftussmog victim
Above, left: Eileen Loftus, a Donora mill nurse, treated workers overcome by the smog. Above, right: A smog victim is treated.

Related links
The Donora Smog
When Smoke Ran Like Water
WQED-TV's "Donora Smog" Wins Emmy

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