Fertilizer Plant Explosion in Texas

  1. How devastating. Last I heard, several firefighters, a police officer, and many civilians were killed. The little town was leveled around the area.

    Teams of first responders descended on the devastated town of West, Texas, early Thursday where a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant left scores of casualties and turned homes to rubble.
    The number of dead remained unclear, with police saying it could be between five and 15. More than 160 people were injured and "three to four" firefighters were missing or unaccounted for, officials said.

  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   BCgradnurse
    What a tragedy. My heart goes out to all those affected by this event.
  4. by   Esme12
    Things always come in threes......my heartfelt prayer for that entire community!
  5. by   ZASHAGALKA
    I know the area well. Salt of the earth people live there. Keep your prayers up.
  6. by   herring_RN
    I've been praying. Grandmother grew up on a farm near Waco. Mother born on a kitchen table near Bowie.
    In its most recent risk management plan filing with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, West Fertilizer Co. officials said they had steps in place to prevent the accidental release of anhydrous ammonia.
    The facility sold fertilizers directly to farmers, according to regulatory filings retrieved through a website run by the Center for Effective Government.

    The safety plan, filed in June 2011, said the worst-case scenario would be "the release of the total contents of a storage tank released as a gas over 10 minutes."
    Filed by the company's general manager, the risk management plan indicated there hadn't been an accident at the warehouse facility in the last five years.
    The filing also said that "based on the most likely potential incident," an alternative release scenario would be "a release from a break in a transfer hose," company officials wrote.
    To prevent that, the facility had pressure relief valves in place.
    "Safety improvement is an on-going process at the facility," officials wrote.

    West Fertilizer Co. fined $2,300 in 2006 for lack of safety plan - latimes.com
    OSHA Last Inspected Texas Fertilizer Plant in 1985

    Last edit by herring_RN on Apr 19, '13 : Reason: add link
  7. by   StNeotser
    Devastating. I saw aerial shots of the before and after pictures. I especially feel for the families of those volunteer firefighters first on scene.
  8. by   herring_RN
    I'm very upset. in a small community i'm sure everyone lost someone.
    Those brave firefighters. The physician who is in charge of the ambulance services was fighting tears at one point.
    I haven't been there for decades, but like Timothy think wonderfully honest and kind people live there.
  9. by   tewdles
    There is never an act of terrorism that doesn't dish devastation to good and kind people...in all countries.
  10. by   TopazLover
    I have read no indications of terrorism in West. Is that being reported?
  11. by   tewdles
    oops...me...no, no mention of terrorism
  12. by   TopazLover
    I have been rather shocked that Gov. Perry would ask for federal funds to cover the tragedy. He did not think Sandy's victims deserved assistance with the weather related fires and destruction of hundreds and thousands of people with no shelter. The GOP held up funding after Irene.

    There is great suspicion that it was negligence on the part of the company and failure to appropriately plan for this kind of situation, in spite of the fact the cehemicals are volatile and extremely explosive.
  13. by   nursej22
    If this plant had such a large quantity of ammonium nitrate and didn't have a plan for extinguishing or suppressing fire then surely they were negligent. I am shocked that they apparently had not let the local fire department know so that they could be properly prepared. I live near some large industrial sites and even though they have their own fire control, the local FD serves as their back up and are trained for the possibilities.
  14. by   herring_RN
    West Fertilizer Co. Failed To Disclose It Had Unsafe Stores Of Explosive Substance

    Reuters | Posted: 04/20/2013

    The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

    Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate - which can also be used in bomb making - unaware of any danger there.

    Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren't shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.

    A U.S. congressman and several safety experts called into question on Friday whether incomplete disclosure or regulatory gridlock may have contributed to the disaster. ...

    ... Failure to report significant volumes of hazardous chemicals at a site can lead the DHS to fine or shut down fertilizer operations, a person familiar with the agency's monitoring regime said. Though the DHS has the authority to carry out spot inspections at facilities, it has a small budget for that and only a "small number" of field auditors, the person said.

    Firms are responsible for self reporting the volumes of ammonium nitrate and other volatile chemicals they hold to the DHS, which then helps measure plant risks and devise security and safety plans based on them. ...