An explosion in Texas

April 18th, 2013 at 4:07 pm by David Farrar

3 News reports:

An explosion at a fertiliser plant near Waco, Texas sent flames shooting high into the night sky, leaving the factory a smouldering ruin, causing major damage at nearby buildings and injuring numerous people.

There are unconfirmed reports up to 60 people may have been killed and more than 100 injured. CBS says authorities have told residents to leave the town due to the risk of toxic fumes from the plant.

The blast at the plant in West, a community north of Waco, happened shortly before 8pm and could be heard as far away as Waxahachie, 45 miles to the north.

The video looks appalling. An awful accident.

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19 Responses to “An explosion in Texas”

  1. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    Nothing quite like an ammonium nitrate disaster.

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  2. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    The plant is on the eastern side of town.

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  3. iMP (2,231 comments) says:

    Here is some pretty dramatic amateur video footage.

    http://conzervative.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/dramatic-video-of-waco-explosion/

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  4. JC (906 comments) says:

    Sounds like 60-70 dead and hundreds injured.

    Will be interesting to see how Obama reacts.

    JC

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  5. UrbanNeocolonialist (179 comments) says:

    It always strikes me as bizarre to see people praying in the wake of a disaster such as at the end of the video iMP posted above. Seems somehow they can give credit to god when good things happen, but not when when a child starves to death in a drought or in this case when 60 people are ripped apart in an explosion.

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  6. iMP (2,231 comments) says:

    I think the man is praying for the victims. Isn’t that good anytime? Why do we have to qualify it? I’m sure others are praying at different times for other things.

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  7. Ross Nixon (607 comments) says:

    I haven’t read up on what happened, but considering the potential for an explosion, I hope the authorities were evacuating people from the surrounds as soon as the fire was reported.

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  8. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    The good old sneering Atheist…there’s always one

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  9. UrbanNeocolonialist (179 comments) says:

    Don’t really want to threadjack, but assuming abrahamic god then surely it has already made up its mind about how to treat the souls of the dead as well as the living, or will they get special treats or extra tortures if we ask it? Doesn’t sound much like the omnicognizant god of scripture.

    Public exhortations for prayer for the dead or for others are just attention seeking dressed up as compassion – those soliciting such prayer are trying to build or maintain a righteous reputation. If they really want to help then two hands working for charity will achieve far more than a thousand clasped in prayer ever did.

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  10. Longknives (4,411 comments) says:

    It’s nice to know that if a bomb goes off and bits of people are flying past me I will be sneered at and loudly ridiculed by the likes of UrbanNeocolonialist if I resort to a ‘Hail Mary’ or two…
    Atheists really are smug tossers.

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  11. Pete George (22,754 comments) says:

    The news reports say that this is an industrial accident, so probably a coincidence it is a couple of days short of the 20th anniversary of the end of the Waco siege on 19 April 1993 (and the related Oklahoma bombing was 19 April 1995).

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  12. Tautaioleua (281 comments) says:

    UrbanNeoColonialist, probably not the time for that nonsense. Insensitive pig.

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  13. Paul Marsden (986 comments) says:

    Texas has seen one of these before. Devasting.

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  14. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    Hmm, not Ammonium Nitrate, the plant as I understand it makes annhydrous ammonia from Natural Gas, for further processing elsewhere. So my guess (from reading elsewhere as well) is either a boiling liquid natural gas from a storage container, or maybe the NH3 got hot enough to dissociate to N2 plus 3H2, and the H2 as we know can be touchy.

    Very surprised that there wasn’t an evacuation though, US safety standards can be remarkably lax.

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  15. rangitoto (193 comments) says:

    Texas has had ammonium nitrate disaster before:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Texas_City_Disaster

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  16. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    The plant is owned by Adair Grain Inc. Adair received an air quality permit as a fertilizer mixing and storage facilty from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality in December 2006, issued after Adair was investigated for failure to secure a permit, when a neighbor complained about an ammonia smell coming from the plant. Adair reportedly stored 54,000 pounds (27 short tons; 24 t) of anhydrous ammonia, which along with nitric acid, is used to produce ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer, pesticide, and rodenticide.[14]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Fertilizer_plant_explosion

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  17. Ed Snack (1,733 comments) says:

    It isn’t clear from reports what was at the plant, although it primarily produces anhydrous ammonia, they may have also stored NH4NO3 on site and maybe even produced it, but that doesn’t seem clear.

    However both anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate are not good materials to mix with water (or to get too hot), and it was a big fire. Sort of facility where you want really good fire-suppression systems to prevent any fire getting too large as a large explosion was probably inevitable once a fire got out of hand.

    It was a god-damned big bang though. At least the death toll looks to be lower than first feared, only 5 or so confirmed and possibly a further 5-10, and mostly emergency workers who would have been on site.

    I’ve seen it described that the US OSHA safety approach is a real “tick the boxes” exercise rather than something more reality based, and as a result the US tends to suffer more “mishaps” of this nature than comparable European facilities. However safety is really a cultural issue, if the company has the wrong safety culture compliance rules can only do so much, and that’s something set by management.

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  18. scrubone (3,044 comments) says:

    Seems somehow they can give credit to god when good things happen, but not when when a child starves to death in a drought or in this case when 60 people are ripped apart in an explosion.

    At risk of feeding the troll, here’s a simple answer to explain what Christians believe. You can accept it or not.

    God intervienes to do good in the world – and he made it good anyway. Man rebelled, and it’s this rebellion that results in the isolation from God we have and the evil we see around us. God could indeed shield us from the evil of our actions, but he choses to expose us to many of the results of our evil. And one thing we see fairly consistently in scripture is that God plays the long game, and works to use the evil we created for his own good.

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  19. gump (1,474 comments) says:

    Three people die in a terrorist explosion in Boston. Nation erupts with fury. War on terror ratchets up a few notches.

    Sixty people die in an industrial explosion in Texas. Footnote in the news. Life goes on.

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