Rail Car Ruled Out in West Explosion: A Week Later, West Still Devastated
It’s been a week since the devastating explosion at the West Fertilizer plant in the small town of West, Texas, near Waco that killed 15 people, left nearly 200 injured, and damaged a large number of homes. But life in West is nowhere near anything resembling normal, and may not be for some time.
According to town officials, it’s unclear when many of the residents who lived near the plant will be able to return to their homes because the area is still too dangerous. In addition to trying to assess the stability of many of the homes, utility crews are working day and night to try to restore power to most of the town, and many residents do not have access to water that is safe for drinking.
Meanwhile, more than 70 investigators from federal and state agencies are combing through the devastating scene with extreme care, looking at every shovelful of dirt for clues to what caused a blast so powerful, that it left behind a crater that was 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep.
On Tuesday, investigators who have been examining the possible causes of the explosion ruled out a rail car filled with ammonium nitrate that was parked nearby as the cause. The declaration from Assistant State Fire Marshall Kelly Kistner came a day after the Chairman of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality suggested that the rail car was the likely cause. Kistner responded that investigators still have not determined a source for the explosion, but that the rail cars were more likely “victims” of the fire, and not the source.
Regardless of whether or not the cause of the explosion was ammonium nitrate or anhydrous ammonia, take time to learn about the dangers associated with these chemical. Anyone who might possibly come in contact with a fire close to these chemicals should be warned about the potential for massive explosions so that tragedies like the one in West, Texas do not happen again.
Federal and state governments should make regulation and enforcement of laws protecting people, including first responders, workers, people that live close to ammonium nitrate facilities, farmers, and anyone else who might come in contact with these chemicals a top priority. Education about these chemicals should also be a key priority. If you have questions regarding this post, contact the Texas Fire Injury Lawyer at Hill Law Firm today.