Explosion Injury from Fertilizer Plant Accident
Fertilizer seems innocuous enough to most, but when it comes to ammonium nitrate, it’s not a matter for the compost heap. This was amply demonstrated when the West Fertilizer Company exploded on April 17, flattening 5 blocks of homes surrounding the plant, injuring 200 people and killing 14. Ammonium nitrate is well known as a dangerous chemical; it was responsible for the most disastrous industrial accident in US history in 1947 when a ship carrying 2,300 tons of the chemical fertilizer was in route to Waco, Texas when it exploded. It killed 576 people, including 26 firemen.
The extent of the damage for the West, Texas explosion is quite extensive. Aside from residential buildings, the accident wiped out a nursing home and the local school, as well as creating a huge crater where the plant used to be. The costs have not yet been released.
It has been pointed out that while the cause of the explosion is still unknown two months after the fact, the factory has a history for not following safety laws and regulations. Storing dangerous chemicals such as ammonium nitrate in close proximity to people’s homes, schools and nursing homes is bad enough. West Fertilizer also failed to report to the Department of Homeland Security that they were storing 270 tons of ammonium nitrate, a chemical that can be used for terrorist attacks as mandated by law. Clearly, the company has very little consideration for the safety of their employees as well as the surrounding community and just as clearly culpable for the damages to property, personal injuries and wrongful deaths that resulted from this negligence.
But West Fertilizer, like many big corporations, has vast resources at its command, including legal representation. Those who have suffered explosion injuries, death and property damage may feel daunted about bringing the people responsible to book, but they have a right and responsibility to do so. If you or someone you know has been directly affected by this terrible accident, consult with an experienced explosion injury lawyer in Texas and get justice done.