Fertilizer Plant Explosion in West, TX
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On the evening of April 17, 2013, an explosion at a fertilizer refinery rocked the community of West, Texas, a small town just north of Waco. The day after the incident, reports indicated that five to 15 people were killed and more than 160 were wounded in this blast. The total number of dead and wounded has not yet been verified. Some of the firefighters who responded to the scene are still missing. Were you or a loved one injured in the West fertilizer plant explosion?
Contact The Carlson Law Firm. We have offices in Waco, Temple and Killeen, Texas. The firm is currently taking on cases for victims of the blast.
There have been a total of 17 major explosions at fertilizer plants around the world since 1921. The fertilizer industry is growing at a rapid pace due to the recent hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) boom in the United States. Cheap natural gas combined with the ability to produce and a high demand is causing this industry to grow- in 2011 the fertilizer industry in the United States saw nearly $10 billion in revenues. Fertilizer production can be a risky endeavor, as it involves ammonium nitrate, which is highly combustible. A small spark or even temperatures that are too high could ignite this chemical in an instant.
In 2006, the West fertilizer plant was fined by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for its failure to have a risk-management plan in place. After paying the $2,300 fine, the plant vowed to implement a risk-management plan as ordered. Since 2006, there has been no incident or additional fines at this plant. Upon an initial investigation, the operators of this fertilizer plant wrote in a report that an accident of this magnitude would not be possible, and that the worst that could happen would be “a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one.” This explosion proved otherwise.
So what went wrong? Many are still in shock over this tragic incident, but investigators are looking at finding who is to blame. An initial assessment of the situation seems to indicate that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigations were not as frequent as they possibly should have been. Reports indicate that, throughout the entire fertilizer manufacturing industry, there had only been six total plant inspections within the past five years. West Texas Fertilizer Co. was not among one of the six plants that was inspected for safety.
Help for Injured Workers & Residents
Tragically, not only were plant workers and firefighters affected by the blast. Many homes in the small town of West have been leveled as well. A sergeant with the Waco Police Department stated, “Part of that community is gone.” Initial reports estimate that four blocks of homes surrounding the plant had been completely destroyed. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) compared the magnitude of the blast to that of a small earthquake, coming in at 2.1.
Contacting Our Waco Personal Injury Lawyers
Were you affected by the West fertilizer plant blast? We urge you to get in touch with our firm. The Carlson Law Firm has been located in Waco, Texas for 13 years, and is prepared to handle your case with exceptional skill, ability and compassion.
Your home may have been destroyed, your loved ones injured or even killed. Our firm has the experience to handle your case, as we have handled similar industrial accidents and plant explosion cases before. In the midst of a devastating time, you can trust our firm to offer compassionate representation. We are unrelenting in our pursuit of justice for accident victims.
For a free, confidential evaluation of your case with an experienced Waco personal injury attorney, call The Carlson Law Firm today.