Update on the Massive Ammonium Nitrate Explosion in West, Texas | DENENA | POINTS

Posted on Apr 19, 2013

Authorities still do not have certain numbers regarding fatalities and injuries from the massive ammonium nitrate explosion. And due to the severe devastation in the immediate region of the blast, it may be some time before they do. Remember that the devastating ammonium nitrate explosion that killed more than 600 in Texas City in 1947 created such havoc that it took weeks before the final tally of the dead and injured was available.

Our Texas industrial accident attorneys note that firefighters first responded to a report of a fire at the West, Texas fertilizer plant that later exploded so catastrophically. Authorities are saying that they believe that water ignited the gas anhydrous ammonia to trigger the massive explosion that flattened several city blocks around the fertilizer plant, including a 50-unit apartment complex.

Some commentators are calling for a tightening of EPA regulations because of the massive explosion. The anhydrous (meaning something like “antithetical to water” or “absence of water”) ammonia gas, while dangerous, is a natural product of the fertilizer production process of the plant. It remains relatively inert during most circumstances. But our Texas industrial accident attorneys emphasize that presented with the correct combination of temperature, pressure, and water, it becomes highly combustible, as the devastating tragedy in West, Texas reveals.

The plant in West appears to have been in current compliance with EPA regulations, though it had to take corrective measures to comply in the past. For instance, the plant had formerly failed to timely file its risk management program plan (and the current incident reveals that such facilities are in clear need of such plans). In 2011, the plant certified to the EPA that it presented no risk of explosion or fire. And that a worst-case scenario allowed for a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would not harm anyone.


Videos of the explosion show a sudden detonation. Dozens may have died, and nearly 200 were injured at present count. Whatever release of gas took place did indeed cause devastating harm and brought tragedy to many families in Texas, including the families of many brave first responders. (Source:  Josh Levs and Lateef Mungin, CNN.com, 4/18/13)

The firefighters and other first responders bravely put their lives on the line for others. Some of them tragically lost their lives, but may have saved many others in the process. Our Texas industrial accident attorneys point out that the town of West was evacuated in stages as the situation changed. We particularly note the staunch refusal in interviews to be baited by a speculation-hungry media of the owner of an auction house used as a command post. Kudos.

Facilities like the nursing home were evacuated with care and efficiency. The tragedy could have been much worse. But due to the dedication of firefighters, first responders, and other caring individuals, many lives were preserved. The Texas industrial accident attorneys at Denena Points, PClaud all the brave men and women who responded to this disaster and helped their fellow Texans in need. They represent the true spirit of Texas.

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