West Explosion

From Texas Standard:

On April 17, around 7:50 in the early evening, an explosion at the Adair Grain and West Fertilizer Company rocked the small town of West, Texas. That was three years ago.

Fifteen people died, including 12 volunteers fighting the fire at the plant. More than 160 people were injured. The blast was so severe it caused a small earthquake – the concussion waves were visible to the naked eye. A nearby middle school, nursing home and apartment complex were demolished. Neighborhood homes were destroyed.

It seemed possible that the fires could have been started by a short circuit somewhere – the facility was old – or that a golf cart with dodgy electrics might have been the spark that set off the blaze. But state and federal officials say the explosion at West was the outcome of a criminal act.


Shane Torgerson / Wikimedia Commons

AUSTIN — The first proposal to tighten chemical storage regulations in the two years since the West, Texas, fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people has passed the Legislature’s lower chamber.

Clearing the Texas House on Friday via voice vote, the bill would strengthen rules for storing ammonium nitrate — a common but highly flammable ingredient in fertilizer. It must still pass the state Senate.

The bill establishes procedures for fire prevention at ammonium nitrate storage facilities, and requires facilities to report hazardous chemicals to state environmental authorities.

@vrbruno3 / Instagram

The recent decision by Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop making the locations of Tier Two chemicals public has a lot of people talking.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott explained his opinion on why the state should not disclose sensitive information about chemical plants like the one in the city of West, Texas that exploded one year ago.

In a legal opinion released this week, Abbott said the state should withhold the addresses and list of substances at chemical plants storing dangerous chemicals. While the state will not provide this information openly, Abbott said the public still has the ability to get the information themselves.

Ryan Poppe / TPR News

After a year of investigating the lead up to the fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, Texas, one state lawmaker announced his intention to author a bill to make such chemical facilities safer.

State Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, chairman of the Texas House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, made the announcement during a committee hearing Tuesday.

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