Utility Menu

Powder/Bulk Solids

The Source for Dry Processing and Bulk Handling Technology

Deaths, Injuries in Massive Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion

April 18, 2013
photo courtesy of Mike Stone/REUTERS
photo courtesy of Mike Stone/REUTERS

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas Wednesday night has left as many as 15 people dead, and more than 150 people injured.

The explosion at the West Fertilizer Co., which was described as an earthquake-like blast, leveled homes, an a apartment building, and a middle school in the surrounding area, and was reportedly felt almost 50 miles away.

Emergency teams responded to a call about a fire at just about 7:30 pm Central Time, and were battling the fire when the explosion occurred about 25 minutes later.

At a briefing this morning, Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said that initial reports indicated that the fire and blast may have involved a railroad tanker carrying anhydrous ammonia, which is an odorless gas that is used in making fertilizer.The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said that it was deploying a "large investigation team" to the scene.

Search and rescue efforts were continuing this morning.

Related article: Spark Detection: First Line of Defense for Preventing Combustible Dust Fires and Explosions