Wait, are, fertilizer plants built in the middle of towns, as practice?
My girlfriend's folks live a bit under 40 miles away in Grandview and, according to her mom, their whole house shook with the blast.
Explosion at fertilizer factory at West, TX. The magnitude measures only the ground motion, not the air wave, so is substantially less than the true size of the event.
This briefing, still going on, is from Sergeant W. Patrick Swanton from Waco’s police dept, who has spoken before. He's also said:
• There are three to five firefighters missing.
• Some homes near the centre of the blat have been "levelled".
• There is no indication yet of criminal involvement in the blast.
• There is not believed to be any hazard from smoke or air particles, and firefighters believe they have the blaze in the plant under control.
The fertilizer plant that exploded Wednesday night in West, Texas, reported to the Environmental Protection Agency and local public safety officials that it presented no risk of fire or explosion, documents show.
West Fertilizer Co. reported having as much as 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on hand in an emergency planning report required of facilities that use toxic or hazardous chemicals.
But the report, reviewed Wednesday night by The Dallas Morning News, stated “no” under fire or explosive risks. The worst possible scenario, the report said, would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one.
The second worst possibility projected was a leak from a broken hose used to transfer the product, again causing no injuries.
The plan says the facility did not have any other dangerous chemicals on hand. It says that the plan was on file with the local fire department and that the company had implemented proper safety rules.
the plant had informed the Environmental Protection Agency that it presented no risk of fire or explosion, according to The Dallas Morning News. It did so in an emergency planning report required of facilities that use toxic or hazardous chemicals.
The plant's report to the EPA said even a worst-case scenario wouldn't be that dire: there would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that wouldn't kill or injure anyone, the newspaper reported.
I still don't understand why it's anathema for Americans to fund emergency services, or staff them with full-time professionals.
I suppose one could say that everyone in this case had perfect freedom. The fertilizer plant owners had the freedom to run a plant without "big government" intrusion. The home builders had the freedom to sell their units wherever they saw fit to build. The home buyers had the freedom to assume irresponsibility on the part of the plant owner and the government, and take responsibility for themselves by not living near the plant. It was a conservative paradise of total economic liberty. No one could have foreseen what would happen. It was a tragedy. Instead of politicizing it, we should just pray for the victims. Wolverines.
The fertilizer plant owners had the freedom to run a plant without "big government" intrusion.
As they communicated their intentions to controllers in Winnipeg and tried to restart the left engine, the cockpit warning system sounded again with the "all engines out" sound, a long "bong" that no one in the cockpit could recall having heard before and that was not covered in flight simulator training. Flying with all engines out was something that was ever expected to occur and had therefore never been covered in training.
They immediately searched their emergency checklist for the section on flying the aircraft with both engines out, only to find that no such section existed.
Since 1970, workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled.
WASHINGTON—Calling the last four days of American life just...I mean, talk about a goddamned punch in the gut, citizens across the nation confirmed today that, Jesus, this week.
This fucking week, sources added.
You can't have it both ways. That bridge absolutely could have killed people and to handwash it away because
Also it's 'handwave' not 'handwash'.
the facility was not regulated or monitored by the DHS under its CFAT standards, largely designed to prevent sabotage of sites and to keep chemicals from falling into criminal hands.
A separate EPA program, known as Tier II, requires reporting of ammonium nitrate and other hazardous chemicals stored above certain quantities. Tier II reports are submitted to local fire departments and emergency planning and response groups to help them plan for and respond to chemical disasters. In Texas, the reports are collected by the Department of State Health Services. Over the last seven years, according to reports West Fertilizer filed, 2012 was the only time the company stored ammonium nitrate at the facility.
It reported having 270 tons on site.
In response to a request from Reuters, Haywood, who has been a safety engineer for 17 years, reviewed West Fertilizer's Tier II sheets from the last six years. He said he found several items that should have triggered the attention of local emergency planning authorities - most notably the sudden appearance of a large amount of ammonium nitrate in 2012.
The fertilizer plant that exploded on Wednesday, obliterating part of a small Texas town and killing at least 14 people, had last year been storing 1,350 times the amount of ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
Yet a person familiar with DHS operations said the company that owns the plant, West Fertilizer, did not tell the agency about the potentially explosive fertilizer as it is required to do, leaving one of the principal regulators of ammonium nitrate – which can also be used in bomb making – unaware of any danger there.
Fertilizer plants and depots must report to the DHS when they hold 400 lb (180 kg) or more of the substance. Filings this year with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which weren’t shared with DHS, show the plant had 270 tons of it on hand last year.
Meanwhile, building on yesterday’s discussion of media coverage of these events, only 2 of 63 cable news segments on the West Fertilizer explosion noted that the plant was in violation of federal standards for holding ammonium nitrate. Bad reporting on workplace conditions helps people see these events as accidents and not as the fault of specific choices corporate leaders make and for which they should be held criminally and civilly responsible.
This decline in coverage has created an environment in which companies may feel as if they can get away with massive safety violations because they will face little scrutiny from the media and the public....
As Ken Ward Jr. of the Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette, who has covered the Upper Big Branch mine explosion more than any other reporter, tweeted, “Terrorists want media attention, so we give it to them. Unsafe industries don’t want media attention — so we give that to them.”
Classes of Explosive Materials
Explosive materials may be divided into three classes:
• High explosives are explosive materials that, when unconfined, can be caused to detonate by means of a blasting cap. An example is dynamite.
• Low explosives are explosive materials that, when confined, can be caused to deflagrate. Black powder, safety fuses, igniters, igniter cords and fuse lighters are examples.
• Blasting agents are substances classified by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 49 CFR 173.50 as blasting agents. These are substances that have a mass explosion hazard but are so insensitive that there is very little probability of initiation or of transition from burning to detonation under normal conditions of transport. Ammonium nitrate, fuel oil and particular water gels are examples.
2. When the ammonium nitrate and/or blasting agent is not barricaded, the distances shown in the table shall be multiplied by six. These distances allow for the possibility of high velocity metal fragments from mixers, hoppers, truck bodies, sheet metal structures, metal containers and the like that may enclose the “donor.” Where storage is in bullet-resistant magazines recommended for explosives or where the storage is protected by a bullet-resistant wall, distances and barricade thicknesses in excess of those prescribed in the American Table of Distances are not required.
3. The distances in the table apply to ammonium nitrate that passes the insensitivity test prescribed in the definition of ammonium nitrate fertilizer promulgated by the Fertilizer Institute; and ammonium nitrate failing to pass said test shall be stored at separation distances determined by competent persons and approved by the authority having jurisdiction.
5. Earth, or sand dikes, or enclosures filled with the prescribed minimum thickness of earth or sand are acceptable artificial barricades. Natural barricades, such as hills or timber of sufficient density that the surrounding exposures which require protection cannot be seen from the “donor” when the trees are bare of leaves, are also acceptable.
6. For determining the distances to be maintained from inhabited buildings, passenger railways and public highways, use the Table of Distances for Storage of Explosives in table 6-4b of NFPA 495-1985,
Code for the Manufacture, Transportation, Storage, and Use of Explosive Materials.
"Barricading” is defined as the effective screening of a magazine containing explosive materials from another magazine, a building, a railway, or a highway, by either a natural barricade or an artificial barricade.
A barricade, such as a berm made from natural soil, must be constructed wide enough at height so that a straight line drawn from the top of any sidewall of the magazine it is screening to the eave line of any other magazine or building will pass horizontally through a portion of the barricade that is at least 3 feet thick.
RAILROAD TRACK BERM
Trooper D.L. Wilson of the Texas Department of Public Safety said he is convinced that a railroad track embankment along the side of the plant facing the residential area saved lives.
The railroad track is located on top of an eight-foot- (2.4-metre-) tall berm that Wilson said deflected most of the force of the blast up into the air rather than toward the residential area.
"I have been down in that area and the blast went up," he said. "If that blast hadn't have gone up over the railroad track, it would have leveled more houses."
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