A catastrophic explosion at the West Fertilizer Co., a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, is reported to have killed at least 14 people and injured more than 200 people. Three to five volunteer firefighters were among those killed. However, the precise death toll remains uncertain.
This incident occurred around 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. The explosion prompted a wide scale evacuation in the community of 2,600 people due to the continuing dangers and the potential for more explosions. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the blast registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake.
The exact causes of this deadly explosion are still unknown. But it appears, at this time, that a combination of fire and chemicals, likely ammonium nitrate, led to the explosion.
In 2006, the Texas Commission on Environment Quality cited the West Fertilizer Co. for failing to obtain or to qualify for a permit. In fact, in 2006, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) fined the company for failing to have a risk management plan that met federal standards. The $2,300 penalty was issued on August 14, 2006.
Additionally, it has been reported that West Fertilizer Co. had reported to the EPA and local safety officials that it presented no risk of fire or explosion. The report further stated that company officials reported that the worst possible scenario would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would not pose any threat of injury or death and that the second worst possibility projected was a leak from a broken hose used to transfer the product, again causing no injuries.
Contrary to West Fertilizer’s representations that the plant was safe and that there was no risk of fire or explosions, it clearly is not and many have been injured or died as a result of West Fertilizer’s negligence. While the owners have offered apologies in the after-math of the explosion, the statements provide little relief to those who have lost their lives, families that have lost loved ones, people forever burned and maimed, owners of destroyed property, and others who have lost their livelihoods.
We Can Help
If you were injured or lost a loved in a plant explosion, you should hire a plant explosion attorney as you may be entitled to monetary compensation.
The attorneys at Gersowitz, Libo & Korek, P.C. have the necessary experience and knowledge to aggressively fight for your rights and are dedicated to getting you the maximum compensation that you deserve.
Call us at 800.529.9997 to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our experienced plant explosion attorneys today.