Apr 29, 2013
On Wednesday, April 17, a fire broke out at the West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas, a working class farming town of close to 3,000 people. The explosion that erupted was so strong, it registered as an earthquake and was heard and felt for miles around. It destroyed or heavily damaged an apartment complex, three nearby schools, and a nursing home where elderly residents were pulled out and sent to hospitals. It also destroyed houses within a radius of several blocks. The explosion left a crater 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep.
Within hours, 14 people were killed, mostly firefighters and other first responders and two residents living nearby. The toll of people injured has reached 200.
The exact cause is still not certain. However, considering that the plant stores and distributes large amounts of two potentially explosive chemicals – ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia – and considering the abysmal record of West Fertilizer on health and safety issues, it is not shocking this happened.
Here is a partial list of safety violations:
And West Fertilizer is not the only company in town with a poor safety record!
Even after this horrendous explosion, federal, state and local authorities and Governor Rick Perry take a casual attitude toward inspections and regulations.
Isn’t it criminal to put business and profit first, at whatever the cost? This time they practically destroyed an entire town, killing 14 people and injuring 200 others. And that’s not criminal?!
No, in this profit-focused society, the criminal IS “par for the course.”