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West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

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  • West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

    Authorities have confirmed that 11 firefighters and medics were killed last night in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas - though at least three more people are feared dead as rescuers search the rubble for bodies.

    Pictures of some of the devastation
    Millennium-Ark: Pic of the Day

    Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Killed 13, Injured 200 - ABC News
    Last edited by BHD; 04-19-2013, 06:50 PM.
    Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
    attributed to Samuel Johnson
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

  • #2
    Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

    That is just such sad news.
    Teach your kids about taxes..........eat 30 percent of their ice cream.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

      Also being reported by some media services, is that 60 people are said to be missing or unaccounted for.

      As I recall, over the years there have been several disasterous fires/explosions from fertilizer plants and storage. One of the worst in the mid-to-late 40's somewhere along the Texas coast, as a ship was being loaded. (I can't recall the specifics at the moment.)

      Prayers are with those families and friends. It's tough being in any fire service, as you can never be sure what you are going to face.

      I'm concerned as to how many other places and facilities are "unknowns" when it comes to this kind of thing. Industrial and Agriculture plants that handle hazardous materials and go un-inspected for ridiculously long times. I know we often rale against the government and safety and OSHA are often the first to be "finger-pointed" and budget-cut, but here is a good example of why we need these agencies and why they should be doing a much more stringent job.

      CWS

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

        really it amazes me this is not more common,
        as most ever small town in rural farming community's have a similar place, (in our small town it is in the middle of town on the RR tracks), the buildings are not as close together as this on and the NH3 tanks are away from the buildings, also our went from using amonianitrate to urea, for dry nitrogen, which is said to be safer.
        Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
        attributed to Samuel Johnson
        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
        PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

          Originally posted by BHD View Post
          really it amazes me this is not more common,
          as most ever small town in rural farming community's have a similar place, (in our small town it is in the middle of town on the RR tracks), the buildings are not as close together as this on and the NH3 tanks are away from the buildings, also our went from using amonianitrate to urea, for dry nitrogen, which is said to be safer.
          Most of those facilities were built on the edge of town, when they were built that is, and the towns have grown up around them. Just like a situation in CWS's neck of the woods, Indian Point Energy Center, which I believe is the PC name for the place now, but was known in the past as Indian Point Nuclear Generating Station, or might have been Indian Point Atomic Gen. Station when it was first built in the early 60s. Back then there weren't near as many homes and businesses around the plant, now right outside the front gate are homes and a local tavern. Most nukes were built some distance away from cities and towns as part of their protection plan, but peoplemwere allowed to move right in next door to IPEC and now complain about living next to the plant.

          Same thing in Paulsboro, NJ with the oil refineries. Last year when that train of vinyl chloride derailed they evacuated about half the town.
          ---------------
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          • #6
            Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

            We still have our home in Painted Post (no sales market there), and we bought our home here in Binghamton six or seven years ago. It was nice to return to the "old stomping grounds" after living out there for more than three decades. I remember when I first moved to Painted Post back in 1973; it was a little over a year after the hurricane "Agnes" flood (72'). Housing was really in demand because of the flood damage and after driving between Binghamton and Painted Post for nine months, I finally found a place for the three of us in one of the company-owned duplexes right in valley area of the village.

            Just out the back door, on the other side of the one-way street was the railroad track and the foundry. The track was an active "spur" that wyed off the main line from the rail yard across the river and it swung around, comes right up through the Rand's main plant (where I worked) and continued up through the village thru our neighborhood and continued up the very old line to Bath and Hammondsport (home of Glen Curtis, aviation pioneer) which sets up on Seneca Lake.

            Every day, and sometimes twice a day, a train of tank cars makes that trip up to the Finger Lakes region and back. It was different, living there because in addition to the foundery noise and the vibration of the "shakers", you'd also have to put up with the train rumbling thru. Funny part of it was that the little kids would hear the train first and you'd hear the shout go out...."TRAAAAAIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNN!!!!!" and all the kids would come running, along with the barking dogs to meet the train as it rolled up the tracks at about 15 to 20 mph. The engineer and the caboose watchman would through candy at the excited and exuberante crowd of kids. My little guy was only about three then and wasn't about to let him go over there, much to his anger and crying about it.

            Well we lived there about a couple of years and I never gave much of a thought to the train other than the danger it posed to the excited kids, although they stayed off the tracks. But I was always concerned that one of them might get pushed or shoved in the wrong direction. Fortunately, the kids were a lot more careful than I gave them credit for and no one ever got hurt.

            But after those first two years, we got a new neighbor. A young guy about my age (at the time I was still a young guy) moved in next door. He was there about a week and as yet I hadn't got to know him as he appeared to be rarely there. Then one Friday evening just after supper, the train came rumbling up the tracks and I went out to watch the kids and the train and this guy came out. We introduced ourselves and he told me he was a chemical engineer for Corning Glass. Well, about that time the engine passed and the first of about 30 tank cars started passing. Now, these were just across a one-lane roadway, so we were close enough to see every feature. This guy literally grabbed my arm and said, "HOLY SH!T..... do you have any idea what those tank cars are carrying?!" Obviously NOT... and he commenced to tell that if I valued my family I'd find another place to live as quickly as I could!

            The tanks cars carried mostly LP, but among them were a quantity of liquid fertilizers and other dangerous chemicals. The next day the guy knocked on my door and we took a hike up the tracks. The rail and timber tyes were not in the best of condition and some of the "date nails" showed ages back to the 30's. He reiterated his grave concern and the following week he moved out of the neighborhood and I never saw him again. We moved later that year, to a house up on the side of the hill overlooking the village. I don't know that we would be totally out of the blast area, should it ever occur, as we're only 3/4 of a mile away.

            I did bring this up to the fire dept and they are highly aware... but as with the company, they have absolutely no control or say in what the train carries. The train still stops traffic in Painted Post as it rumbles through, no crossing gates anywhere. It also fouls up the plant, and the main shop doors and lobby entrance are often "roadblocked" by the passing train... which has been known to stop so the crew can grab a coffee out of one of our vending machines... it's that close!

            CWS

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            • #7
              Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

              Here is a video link of the the train passing through Painted Post right through the front yards as CWSmith describes. A derailment would not be a good thing.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

                We had a similar problem here in Winnipeg last fall. There was a plant that produced Windshield washer fluid, Biodiesel and racing fuel that caught fire.

                It was located in a heavy industrial area that over the years had housing grow up next to it and had to be evacuated until the fire was out. There were a few explosions but they were contained on the plant grounds.

                The city fire department had to get the military and civilian crash units from the airport to come out and foam the fire as apparently the foam they have for building fires does not work well for fuel fires.

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                • #9
                  Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

                  really that picture of the train is amazing
                  Push sticks/blocks Save Fingers
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."
                  attributed to Samuel Johnson
                  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                  PUBLIC NOTICE: Due to recent budget cuts, the rising cost of electricity, gas, and oil...plus the current state of the economy............the light at the end of the tunnel, has been turned off.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

                    Thanks for posting the vid... that is heading back to the main line, going east thru the village and coming from the Bath/Hammondsport area. Just before the fellow rotated from looking west up the line to east toward the Ingersoll-Rand (now Dresser-Rand) plant, you could see the first of probably several black tank cars.

                    That westard view was up Chemung street, and just to the left up past the last house that you can see is where the old foundry used to be. That was torn down about 15 or so years ago. That area now has a siding where tank cars are pulled off a couple of times a day to be filled with village water, and then they go south over the PA border for the "fracking fields". The state just put a stop to that with an injunction... another story!

                    Near the end of the vid, when the camera is looking east, that taller (5-story) building you see is "Bldg 9", which contains the engineering and management offices of the company. The main plant is attached and to the right of that scene and as you look down to the end of that building, the shop main entrance and the Heat treat dept is there. That plant takes up almost 1/4 of the village. That street with the traffic is "Hamilton St", which is the main thoroughfare. As you can see, no traffic lights and no crossing gates on any of the streets. At about the point where the camera picks up the train, it should be blowing it's whistle to signal the plant security guards to come and open the gates, which must be done each and everytime the train comes through... there are gates at both ends of the track where it enters and exits the plant yard.

                    This track has been there for the entire 20th century. The plant was originally built in the mid 1800's, when it was the "Imperial Engine Company". Ingersoll-Rand bought it in the late 1800's and IT and the Philippsburg, NJ plant were the only two plants the company had for quite some time.

                    Edit addition: I just noticed the second video, which shows just the Norfolk and Southern, and has a better view of the plant entrance... again the train is heading east on it's return for the Finger Lakes area. There's only a few tank cars shown; but I've seen two or three dozen sometimes... especially on the westbound trip.

                    CWS
                    Last edited by CWSmith; 04-21-2013, 07:58 PM.

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                    • #11
                      Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

                      Originally posted by BHD View Post
                      really that picture of the train is amazing
                      Yes it is.... now image what it was like when the kids would hear it rumbling up the tracks and start screaming "TRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAIIIIIINNNNNN", then go scrambling to see if they can get a piece of candy or two. We moved up on the hill (to the north of the village) in the late 70's, our son was about seven or eight as I recall. So, I don't know if they still do that anymore.

                      Imagine too, when that train is crossing the company property and it just stops... you can't cross the tracks, when it's there. While the main plant is on the south side of the track, the main assembly building (our Shop 22) is on the north side, as is the truck entrance to shipping and receiving, and the employee parking lot. When that train stops, everything just jambs up... and there is nothing that management can do about it, as the railroad rightaway is under Federal law (Interstate Commerce Commision, I believe). I've seen a couple of people fired because of thier indiscretions... one guy, climbed between the cars (over the coupling) to get to the building that I used to work end (Bldg 33) and another, a young engineer in training, jumped on one of the car ladders as the train was passing though, riding it from Building 9, down to the east end of the plant. Both were fired immediately, within the hour.

                      CWS

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                      • #12
                        Re: West Texas fertilizer plant explosion

                        It's funny, I remember when I was little, I wished to work on the railroad. The thought of working on the various controls, mechanisims, and indicators always created a spark of interest via the romantic notion of such small things of this world can command such mammoth machinery. Sadly, life seemed to dictate my fate otherwise. However, I do have the internet, so a like minded person made this video:

                        Last edited by tailgunner; 04-22-2013, 12:04 AM.

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