West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Death Toll Rising

by Francisco Guerra, IV. on 04/19/2013

Texas Flag

As of midday today, officials let the media know that 12 bodies have been recovered from the fertilizer plant explosion site in West, Texas. An additional 60 people remain unaccounted for at this time. As fellow Texans, our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of West, and we hope that many more of the missing are found alive and safe. So far, over 200 people have been injured by the blast, and at least 50 homes have been destroyed. The overall number of casualties remains unknown. 

The West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion registered as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake, causing extreme property damage. Most of the 12 fatalities were volunteer firefighters from surrounding communities, and other first responders who risk their lives to keep us safe. We respect and appreciate their sacrifice, made to keep their own community and loved ones safe during an extremely dangerous situation.

According to the New York Times, “Perry Calvin, 37, a married father of two with a third on the way, was one of the volunteer firefighters killed. He had been attending an emergency medical technician class in West on Wednesday evening when a firefighter in the class got a page about the fire at the fertilizer company, said his father, Phil Calvin….Perry Calvin was not even a firefighter with the West department. He volunteered with another department in a nearby town, but had rushed to help because he happened to be close.”

While the exact cause of the fire and resultant blast in West remain unknown at this time, the area around the fertilizer plant explosion remains extremely dangerous due to the presence of ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate, a solid fertilizer composed of ammonia and nitrogen, is a component in mining explosives. The plant was operated by the West Chemical and Fertilizer Company, owned by Adair Grain Inc., stored anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate, chemicals used as commercial fertilizers that can become explosive.

Tags: Oil and Gas Refinery Explosions, Workplace Injury, Texas, West Fertilizer Plant Explosion

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