April 19, 2013 — On Wednesday, April 17, a fertilizer plant exploded in the town of West, Texas. At least 12 people perished in the explosion, more than 200 were injured, at least 75 homes were damaged or destroyed, and a 2.1-magnitude earthquake was felt at least 45 miles away. In the aftermath, local reporters in Dallas, Texas have unearthed startling concerns about the risk management plans from West Fertilizer Company.
According to the Dallas Morning News, West Fertilizer Company told public safety officials that the plant presented no risk of fire or explosion. Furthermore, they said that the worst thing that could possibly happen was the “contents of a storage tank released as a gas for more than 10 minutes.”
This report was submitted to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as is required for all companies that store dangerous chemicals. The EPA requires companies to submit a risk management plan that describes past accidents, safety measures they have implemented to prevent accidents, and possible accidents that could occur.
The lack of planning regarding a fertilizer plant explosion is surprising, considering that anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate are some of the most commonly used explosives used in fertilizer bombs — including the Oklahoma City Bombing in 1995.
West Fertilizer Company kept massive amounts of the chemicals in an area called the Dry Barn, which was located next to several large, high-pressure storage tanks. The fertilizer plant is located on a railroad line. According to Sgt. William Swanton of Waco, the initial fire before the explosion may have been caused by a railroad tanker filled with chemicals.
Anhydrous ammonia (dry ammonia) reacts chemically with water. This makes it extremely dangerous for several reasons. If it is breathed, it causes chemical burns because it reacts with water inside the lungs, throat, and eyes. If there is a fire and firefighters douse the chemical with water, it will heat up and explode.
Do I have a Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Lawsuit?
Our law firm has already been contacted by residents of West, Texas and we are now currently representing a number of victims in the horrible tragedy. If you or somebody you know was harmed by the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, you should contact our lawyers immediately for a free case consultation.
We are currently accepting Texas fertilizer plant explosion lawsuits involving personal injury claims, hearing loss, property damage, economic losses, recovery costs, and more. Please use the form below to contact our Accident & Personal Injury Litigation Group or call us toll-free 24 hours a day at (866) 920-0753.
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