Texas fertilizer plant blast probe continues

Plant owner issues statement; investigation continues into cause of deadly explosion in West, Texas, April 17 that killed 14 people and injured 160.

04/21/2013


ISS SourceAn investigation is continuing into what led to the explosions that rocked a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on April 17, that killed 14 people and injured 160.

Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said there is no indication the blast was anything other than an industrial accident, but the ATF will be investigating.

Donald Adair, a fixture in the West community, owns Adair Grain and Adair Farms, which comprises crop production and cattle feed lots. He is 83 years old. According to Dun and Bradstreet, Adair founded the company in 1958. It has 8 employees.

Adair issued the following statement on Friday, April 19:

“This has been a terrible week for everyone in West, Texas and I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt sympathy for those affected and my appreciation for those who responded.

“As a lifelong resident, my heart is broken with grief for the tragic losses to so many families in our community. I know that everyone has been deeply affected by this incident. Loved ones have been injured or killed. Homes have been damaged or destroyed. Our hearts go out to everyone who has suffered.

“The selfless sacrifice of first responders who died trying to protect all of us is something I will never get over. I was devastated to learn that we lost one of our employees in the explosion. He bravely responded to the fire at the facility as a volunteer firefighter. I will never forget his bravery and his sacrifice, or that of his colleagues who rushed to the trouble.

“This tragedy will continue to hurt deeply for generations to come.

“My family and I can't express enough our deep appreciation for the loving service and selfless sacrifice from within and around our community responding to the urgent needs of those affected. I am proud to be associated with West Church of Christ, which has opened its doors to the State of Texas to provide grief counseling services. My family and I will continue to assist in relief efforts through our church family.

“The genuine kindness we have witnessed will be the hallmark for all of our children's children. Going forward, the owners and employees of Adair Grain and West Fertilizer Co. are working closely with investigating agencies. We are presenting all employees for interviews and will assist in the fact finding to whatever degree possible. We pledge to do everything we can to understand what happened to ensure nothing like this ever happens again in any community.

“While the investigation continues, and out of respect for the investigative process, we will limit our comments during the weeks and months ahead.”

Mayor Tommy Muska said the explosion sent up a ball of fire. Muska, who is also a firefighter in the small town, said there was heavy damage in a five or six block area. There is concern, he said, about chemical fumes in an area north of the plant, and he urged residents to stay indoors.

He said 133 people were in the West Rest Haven Nursing Home located near the fertilizer plant at time of explosion. Officials ended up evacuating the home after the fire started – and before the explosion – at the plant.

Wilson, the trooper, said half the town had been evacuated due to damage or the threat posed by fumes from the burning plant.

"When that northwind changes, we might have to evacuate the other side of town," Wilson said.

The president of West Fertilizer is Ted Uptmore, whose family is prominent in West and operates a livestock auction business near the plant called West Auctions. 



No comments
Consulting-Specifying Engineer's Product of the Year (POY) contest is the premier award for new products in the HVAC, fire, electrical, and...
Consulting-Specifying Engineer magazine is dedicated to encouraging and recognizing the most talented young individuals...
The MEP Giants program lists the top mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection engineering firms in the United States.
High-performance buildings; Building envelope and integration; Electrical, HVAC system integration; Smoke control systems; Using BAS for M&V
Pressure piping systems: Designing with ASME; Lab ventilation; Lighting controls; Reduce energy use with VFDs
Smoke control: Designing for proper ventilation; Smart Grid Standard 201P; Commissioning HVAC systems; Boilers and boiler systems
Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Consulting-Specifying Engineer case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.

Protecting standby generators for mission critical facilities; Selecting energy-efficient transformers; Integrating power monitoring systems; Mitigating harmonics in electrical systems
Commissioning electrical systems in mission critical facilities; Anticipating the Smart Grid; Mitigating arc flash hazards in medium-voltage switchgear; Comparing generator sizing software
Integrating BAS, electrical systems; Electrical system flexibility; Hospital electrical distribution; Electrical system grounding
As brand protection manager for Eaton’s Electrical Sector, Tom Grace oversees counterfeit awareness...
Amara Rozgus is chief editor and content manager of Consulting-Specifier Engineer magazine.
IEEE power industry experts bring their combined experience in the electrical power industry...
Michael Heinsdorf, P.E., LEED AP, CDT is an Engineering Specification Writer at ARCOM MasterSpec.