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Events to commemorate 70th anniversary of deadly 1948 Donora smog

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The exterior of the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum.

The 70th anniversary of the 1948 Donora smog, an environmental disaster that put the Washington County borough on the map, will be commemorated at two events in October.

The mini-documentary “Our Water, Land & Air,” portions of which tell the story of the Donora smog, will be screened at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at the Donora Public Library, 510 Meldon Ave. A panel discussion with local experts and survivors will follow.

At 1 p.m. Oct. 27, Brian Charlton of the Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum will speak on “The 1948 Donora Smog Disaster.” The museum is located at the corner of Sixth Street and McKean Avenue.

The deadly smog settled over Donora on Oct. 27, 1948 — the result of a “ temperature inversion ” and emissions from two U.S. Steel plants — and did not dissipate until five days later. At least 20 deaths were attributed to the phenomenon, which resulted in a lawsuit and contributed to greater public awareness about the importance of clean air.

The smog also became a pop culture phenomenon, most recently being referenced in a 2016 episode of the Netflix series “The Crown.”

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter @shuba_trib.

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