San Antonio Fertilizer Dangers: Elementary Schools Within One Mile of Stockpiled Explosives
On April 17, 2013, a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded killing at least 14 people, injuring many more, and damaging millions of dollars worth of property. Before this explosion, there was a fire at the plant that was being fought by local firefighters. Suddenly, and without warning, that fire turned into an explosion like a bomb. Most of the people killed were firefighters trying to put out the fire. When the explosion happened, nobody had been evacuated or warned of this danger.
Texas Tribune research has revealed that the risk of an ammonium nitrate explosion is present in many communities around Texas. Approximately one-hundred and ten (110) facilities store large quantities of ammonium nitrate all across Texas. Important, in our very own community of San Antonio, Texas, there are three (3) facilities stockpiling large amounts of ammonium nitrate. At least one of these facilities is located more or less in the middle of the city and some within one mile of multiple elementary schools.
According to recent reports, there are three major fertilizer storage facilities in San Antonio, Texas that are storing, in some quantity, ammonium nitrate. The Blue Line Corporation at 3443 E. Commerce Boulevard is storing over one thousand (1,000) pounds of ammonium nitrate within one mile of multiple schools. Martin Marietta Materials at 18495 NW Military Highway is storing over one thousand (1,000) pounds of ammonium nitrate in solid state form. And, Orica USA, Inc. is storing over one thousand (1,000) pounds of what the Texas Tribune has dubbed an “explosive ammonium nitrate mixture.” Orica’s facility is also within one mile of two elementary schools.
In San Antonio, Texas alone, there are at least four elementary schools within one mile of large ammonium nitrate storage facilities. Further, there are many homes and business also in close proximity. Most importantly, there are many unsuspecting residents of San Antonio, Texas living close to facilities that present an explosion risk and a risk to life, limb, and property.
Following the West, Texas explosion, it is imperative that City and State regulators and these companies focus on safety, preparation, and readiness. Local firefighters and first responders must be trained on how to handle fires, explosions, and evacuations around these facilities. Businesses, homeowners, and schools must have evacuation and disaster plans in place. And, finally, local hospitals need contingency plans on how to handle a disaster at one of these facilities. San Antonio, Texas must learn from the mistakes of the past and ensure that our city does not suffer such a tragedy.