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Huge Explosion at Texas Fertilizer Plant

Soulskill posted 1 year,6 days | from the find-safety dept.

News 422

A massive explosion took place around 8:50pm ET at a fertilizer plant in a small town in Texas. The cause of the explosion is not precisely known, but the plant was on fire beforehand. The casualty reports are tentative and expected to rise, but two people are dead and over 150 are injured. Firefighters responding to the initial fire are unaccounted for. Over a thousand residents have been evacuated from their homes. Officials are worried about the volatility of another tank at the plant, but also about the potential damage from exposure to anhydrous ammonia. The blast was heard in Dallas, 75 miles away. "There are lots of houses that are leveled within a two-block radius. A lot of other homes are damaged as well outside that radius." A brief YouTube video shows the explosion of the plant.

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422 comments

20 years passed (1, Offtopic)

darkob (634931) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480279)

Has anyone noticed that tomorrow (on April 19th) there will be 20 year since deadly siege at Waco, TX?

Re:20 years passed (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480335)

Which has what to do with a chemical plant 40 miles away...? Exactly...?

Re:20 years passed (5, Insightful)

isorox (205688) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480641)

Which has what to do with a chemical plant 40 miles away...? Exactly...?

The fertilizer plant and the OP are both full of shit?

Re:20 years passed (0)

Hognoxious (631665) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480779)

40 miles isn't far by Texan standards. Perhaps it's the closest bangy-thing to Waco?

Though I suspect this wasn't tairzum, but someone seeing a no smoking sign and going "Herp, it'll be okay if I open a winder, right". He never made it to "derp".

Re:20 years passed (5, Insightful)

Pseudonym (62607) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480357)

Every day on the calendar is an anniversary of something.

Re:20 years passed (4, Interesting)

Vintermann (400722) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480635)

Sure it is. But there has just been a terrorist attack in Boston which no group has taken responsibility for.

Terrorists do their stuff to send a message. If no one understands what the message is, it's a failure from their perspective. The obvious way to make people get the message, is to say what your message is.

In some subcultures, certain dates and events have special significance. Neo-nazis, for instance, have a habit of doing stuff on Hitler's or Hess' birthday. Because these days are special to them, they may either

* Suffer from the misconception that the date is special to everyone else as well, and thus people will get the message without an explicit statement, or

* Accept that the date isn't special outside the milieu, but their friends and enemies will get it. They are content sending a message to just those groups, rather than the public at large.

The Boston Marathon terrorist(s) haven't published what message they wished to send. So, they think it will be obvious to everyone, or at least their friends and enemies. That means they are probably not foreign - foreign terrorists know that we don't share their ideas of significant days, and are comparatively more eager to accept responsibility (that they're harder for the USG to track down probably is also a factor).

Now, is there an US subculture where Patriot's day, Tax day, and the Waco siege anniversary are special days? You bet there is. Could this subculture breed terrorists? It can, and it has [wikipedia.org] .

It's very legitimate to draw a connection here, this is not just any day on the calendar. Even if this plant's explosion was a complete accident, it will be filled with significance to the anti-government conspiracy theorists centered on Waco. If they don't believe one of their own did it, they're probably going to think God/Fate did it. If the Boston Marathon terrorists come from this subculture, they couldn't have asked for something better. (If they don't, though - if for instance, against the odds, they're islamists - they're probably frustrated as hell at this, and will publish a manifesto or similar in the upcoming days to correct impressions).

Re:20 years passed (5, Informative)

dave420 (699308) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480815)

Terrorism is a motive, not an action. Until it has been proven that the perpetrator(s) committed their deed in order to coerce people, it's simply not terrorism - just barbaric murder.

Re:20 years passed (5, Funny)

isorox (205688) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480645)

Every day on the calendar is an anniversary of something.

Feb 29th has fewer anniversaries than normal though

Re:20 years passed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480379)

Wasn't that when some crazy hick religious cult led by some loser child molester got righteously bitch-slapped by the federal government, right before I pretty much forgot about it and went about my day? Yeah, what about then?

Re:20 years passed (-1, Troll)

tehcyder (746570) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480533)

Wasn't that when some crazy hick religious cult led by some loser child molester got righteously bitch-slapped by the federal government, right before I pretty much forgot about it and went about my day? Yeah, what about then?

He had lots of guns and opposed the Federal government, so he's probably pretty much a hero to many Americans on slashdot. Being a religious nut and not an evil materialist socialist is just an added bonus.

Re:20 years passed (5, Informative)

erroneus (253617) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480571)

Nice spin.

Objectively speaking, the Waco incident was needless as it was. 1) What was being done at the compound was not illegal and amounts to government harrassment. 2) The government tends to be quite full of itself to the point that when someone pushes back, they tend to lose control.

For another example of such, do a search on "active duty soldier illegally disarmed and arrested" and especially find the Youtube video while it's still up. A couple of cops literally claimed they were above the law and one insisted he was enforcing the will of the people and it didn't matter what the law says.

But this is rather off-topic you know?

Anyway, I watched the video -- impressive. The blast was amazingly powerful and the child, despite being scared to death, handled herself pretty well too. I think the end game on this story is that it was industrial safety gone wrong. It happens too often.

Re:20 years passed (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480389)

Yes but this fertiliser plant seems like a poor target for people who recognise that anniversary.

Re:20 years passed (2, Insightful)

darkob (634931) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480469)

First, my deepest condolences to all families and friends of dead and injured in this explosion. Apparently, some facts need further clarification. April 19th is a critical date in US history, since, whereas siege at Waco, TX ended on that date probably by coincidence (ATF went in on that particular day after 50 days of siege, negotiating and waiting), it was Tim McVeigh who "comemoraded" that day (and the deadly siege) two years later by bombing federal building in Oklahoma City. To do that he used masive amounts of fertilizer as an explosive. Fertilizer itself is inert, but under certain conditions it may explode. In any case after that bombing sale of fertilizer is severly restricded and I suppose non-farmers are not even capable of obtaining big amount of it. So, if somone wants to make a huge explosion by fertilizer the only other option (apart from stealing it) is to set it on fire wherever it may be. Either some stock on some farm, or directly in some fertilizer factory. I surely hope that this explosion is caused by an accident. However it's up to authorities to determine how did this happend, and possibly why the affected area had not been evacuated after initial fire broke out.

Re:20 years passed (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480521)

From what i was reading there was a small fire at the plant... Fire dept called... They put it out.

Some time later it flared up again and got way out of control. fast. And the local fire dept had no idea what they were doing on such a scale... (volunteers) And were in there when it went bang.

This is a town of about 3000 people... so... yeah. middle of nowhere.

Re:20 years passed (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480523)

You're a fucking idiot.

- How long do you think it would take the emergency services in a small town in central Texas (West is a VERY fucking small town of less than 3,000 people) to evacuate everyone in the area? There's not enough fucking personnel to make door-to-door fast enough and even then stubborn fucks don't want to do what "TEH GUBMINTZERS!!!!" tell them to, even when it means they're going to get blown to shit and back. Fuck you.

- Chemical plants catch on fucking fire. They're incredibly dangerous places. Having lived in Texas my entire fucking life I can name off about a dozen instances of fires in various chemical facilities over the years. SOME, not all, have evolved into large explosions like this one. Fucking nothing about this seems "abnormal" for a situation like this. Again, fuck you.

- Your face needs further clarification from a fucking claw hammer. Fuck you and die.
 

Re:20 years passed (1, Funny)

darkob (634931) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480547)

Thank you for your observations. Apparently we live in two different worlds. In my world there are (still) sirens and warning signs that are used in case of an emergency. In fact those sirens are turned on for testing purposes on every first saturday in month at noon. Also, I counted eleven (11) instances of a "F" word in your (anonymous) writing. I suggest that you practice that activity more. Live long and prosper.

Re:20 years passed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480727)

(different AC)

But yeah, you are a fucking idiot. Chemical Plants do tend to blow up or poison people when there is some kind of catastrophic failure, the fact this happened today, at that particular plant can easily be attributed to coincidence.

Re: 20 years passed (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480707)

I graduated from high school in TX, and I know the area very well. I don't understand where your anger is coming from. This is a horrible situation, and we need to focus on what we can do to help rather than saying hateful things to each other.

Re:20 years passed (1, Troll)

Phase Shifter (70817) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480537)

Fertilizer itself is inert, but under certain conditions it may explode. In any case after that bombing sale of fertilizer is severly restricded and I suppose non-farmers are not even capable of obtaining big amount of it. So, if somone wants to make a huge explosion by fertilizer the only other option (apart from stealing it) is to set it on fire wherever it may be.

What you are saying only applies to ammonium nitrate fertilizer.

Ammonium phosphate is also commonly used as an ingredient for fertilizers, and not only won't explode--it's actually used in fire extinguishers.

Re: 20 years passed (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480545)

Thank you! Very well written post!

Re:20 years passed (2)

tehcyder (746570) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480551)

These conspiracy theories would be slightly more plausible if this had actually happened on the anniversary, not the day before. As it is, it's not even really a coincidence, is it?

Re:20 years passed (2)

MichaelSmith (789609) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480563)

Sure but Timothy McVeigh at least intended to attack the US federal government. Most of the people killed and injured here are people who he would have regarded as peers. His intention wasn't specifically to make things go bang. He had a specific message to send and the only message I see here is about worksite safety.

How Tragic (5, Insightful)

Chrisq (894406) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480281)

Fertilizer plants are dangerous places. I am surprised that in such a sparsely populated part of Texas the plant wasn't further away from houses.

Re:How Tragic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480367)

GOD HATES TEXAS

Or something.

Re:How Tragic (5, Informative)

thegarbz (1787294) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480405)

As always it likely would have been at the time. Then as the town expanded the plant would have been suddenly across the road. We've gone through the battles with town planners near a refinery here in Brisbane for the same reason. It's apparently prime land, yeah 500m from a 50t supply of HF acid.

Re:How Tragic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480421)

If someone's stupid enough to live there then let them. How about all those asylum seekers?

Re:How Tragic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480445)

Get a job you lazy scrounger.

Re:How Tragic (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480743)

Go boil yer bum, you bludging drongo.

Ya, happens all too often (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480685)

Quite often when you see something, even something not particularly dangerous but more annoying like an airport, that is in a populated area and say "Why the hell didn't they build it out in the middle of nowhere?" the answer is often that they did. When they built it, there was nothing around, but things grew up around it, or grew nearer and nearer to it.

You watch an area over a couple decades and it can go from "a whole lot of nothing" to "very developed".

Re:How Tragic (0, Flamebait)

Joce640k (829181) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480437)

"It was a like a nuclear bomb went off," Muska said.

Maybe we could drop a *real* nuclear bomb on Muska, show him what one of those is like.

The cause of the explosion is not precisely known, but the plant was on fire beforehand.

Golly, do you think there's a connection?

Re:How Tragic (2)

Phase Shifter (70817) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480575)

The cause of the explosion is not precisely known, but the plant was on fire beforehand.

Golly, do you think there's a connection?

"Explosion" can mean many things--from a pile of ammonium nitrate being detonated to failure of a tank or tube in an air compressor.

There is a world of difference between how you need to deal with an ammonium nitrate explosion ("Everything within a mile is flattened and on fire") vs rupture of an anhydrous ammonia tank ("Evacuate everyone 17 miles downwind".)

Re:How Tragic (0)

Joce640k (829181) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480719)

I mean a connection between the massive fire and the subsequent explosion. Do you think they might be related?

Re:How Tragic (3, Insightful)

cbhacking (979169) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480767)

Contrary to what Hollywood may have led you to believe, things on fire do not normally explode. They normally just produce a lot of smoke and burn down. Seriously, go watch the video... it's a big fire, but it's just burning steadily and in a not-even-remotely explosive way... until from one frame to the next it flashes so bright it washes out nearly the entire light sensor of the camera.

Yes, obviously the fire is related to the explosion, thank you Captain Obvious. The question is, what about the situation even had the potential for such an incredible explosion? Because that shit is not normal for a fire. What part of "not precisely known" are you having trouble understanding? Also, as Phase Shifter pointed out, knowing exactly what blew up and possibly also knowing why is important for proper response to the incident.

Re:How Tragic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480553)

This is the United States, we're talking about Americans, and it's in the lardiest, fattest and most overweight state add to that. Even getting on the permobil for 5 minutes to get to work is too much of a hassle for these people.

Re:How Tragic (1)

Mashiki (184564) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480581)

Back when I was a kid we had a flour mill not more than two blocks from my house(about 0.1km). Within roughly 0.25km there was also a highschool and a middleschool, and a grade school around 0.15km from it. Back before we moved to the same area, there was also a fertilizer plant just down the road roughly 0.3km. Industrial plants like what I mentioned and others, it wasn't all that uncommon for houses to spring up near where people worked.

Re:How Tragic (-1)

chromozone (847904) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480663)

The danger and "sensitive" nature of a fertilzer plant reminded me of this:

  "CNN) -- A previously secret document found at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan sets out a detailed al Qaeda strategy for attacking targets in Europe and the United States.

The document -- a letter written to bin Laden in March 2010 by a senior operational figure in the terror group -- reveals that tunnels, bridges, dams, undersea pipelines and internet cables were among the targets.

CNN has obtained details of the document from sources briefed on its contents. The 17-page letter is in Arabic.

Al-Mauretani proposed that al Qaeda recruits take jobs with companies transporting gasoline and and other sensitive companies in the West, and await the right moment to strike.

He said targets should include tunnels, airports and even "Love Parades" -- gay and lesbian events held every summer in Germany. "

AQ and Iran have been promising attacks for months now for various reasons (Syria being a main one for Iran).

New al Qaeda document sheds light on Europe, U.S. attack plans

http://edition.cnn.com/2013/03/20/world/new-qaeda-document [cnn.com]

Bah (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480287)

I'm not reading slashdot for regular news

Re:Bah (0)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480315)

I'm not reading here for the news (that is everywhere) either - I'm reading /. for the moderated comments that are certainly not everywhere.. (except yours)

Re:Bah (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480353)

(except yours)

I can see it now, in the CNN comments section: "wtf, what's up with all of these non-tech stories on slashdot"

Re:Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480531)

Possible comment from CNN.com: "WTF is it with all these tech related stories. CNN has completely gone down the shitter since Ted handed the reigns over. Fucking rounded corners, who gives a fuck when fertilizer plants are exploding and ricin is sent to US pols and we're supposed to give a fuck about Whobuntu or whatever the fuck. Fuck."

Detected by seismic network (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480289)

It was detected by seismic networks [usgs.gov] . Note that the most common reason for "earthquakes" at zero depth is a quarry explosion, so that's how they initially labeled it. They've since changed it to read simply "Explosion". Click the "did you feel it link" and you can see that some people felt it as if it were an earthquake. Strangely, they are north of the event. Either the waves propogated that way, or people south of the event saw the cloud and realized it was an explosion not a quake.

Re:Detected by seismic network (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480313)

Well, North of Waco is many many times more populous than south of Waco, so that doesn't really surprise me.

Still, interesting that it was picked up that far away. I still cant grasp how big the bang must have been.

Why are these stories on /.? (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480305)

I noticed that every time there's an explosion somewhere, /. has to have an article about it but yet it has nothing to do with tech. Can someone care to elaborate on why that is? More importantly, why does it just take a few hours for /. to have these kinds of news posts but yet tech related articles could be weeks behind?

Re: Why are these stories on /.? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480319)

Boo hoo

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (4, Insightful)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480337)

Don't blow a fuse; the answer was just in the news! Flaaaming hypocriiiites... [slashdot.org]

(To the tune of "Reading Rainbow.")

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480373)

Don't blow a fuse; the answer was just in the news!

True, but a serious disaster is an event of national interest. Even special interest websites like this one are, in addition to being news sources, are also community gathering locations. Which means, we gather here to talk about what's going on in the world. Is there profit to be made? Sure. But there's also a discussion to be had. And our view into this news event may differ from that of the popular media; For example, there are chemical engineers who read this site. They may have something to say about how this happened. Maybe the fire suppression system failed -- maybe it was even due to a computer glitch. Whether it did or didn't, I can't really say. But the point is, we have a different perspective.

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (1)

Samantha Wright (1324923) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480435)

Valid—and normally I'd defend that point myself; the irony of such a recent story condemning other sites for doing the same thing, however, was just too tempting. (And many do have communities themselves, though obviously not as well-developed.)

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480453)

Validâ"and normally I'd defend that point myself; the irony of such a recent story condemning other sites for doing the same thing, however, was just too tempting. (And many do have communities themselves, though obviously not as well-developed.)

Nobody ever said the new management doesn't regularly open their mouth and insert their foot.

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (-1, Troll)

eulernet (1132389) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480541)

True, but a serious disaster is an event of national interest.

Probably, but Slashdot is a worldwide site.
I'm from France, and I don't feel concerned at all by an explosion in Texas.

Do you really mind what happens in the world outside of US ?

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480411)

/. has to have an article about it but yet it has nothing to do with tech. Can someone care to elaborate on why that is?

/. is "news for nerds, stuff that matters". People who make this complaint always seem to forget that, this isn't just a tech website. Besides, on other sites this has sparked a lot of debate about the chemistry of what exactly caused the explosion and whether or not it was clever planning to plonk a prone-to-exploding chemical plant beside a school. If chemistry and town planning aren't nerdy topics I don't know what are.

 

More importantly, why does it just take a few hours for /. to have these kinds of news posts but yet tech related articles could be weeks behind?

That, I have no idea about.

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (2)

inasity_rules (1110095) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480425)

In this case, it has everything to do with tech. What failed on the plant's systems to cause this? Fertalizer plants are dangerous places, by nature, and (at least in my part of the world) have some hectic safety procedures and equipment up to shutting down if it looks like there is lightning anywhere near....

Was it human error? Equipment failure? We don't know, but everyone came here to speculate. So, yeah it belongs here.

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (2)

lxs (131946) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480491)

I haven't noticed that.
In Baghdad and other parts of central Asia huge bombs are set off on a weekly basis with scores of victims but Slashdot doesn't mention it. The odd bomb in the US will get a mention. Attacks in Europe or Russia only get mentioned if they are big. So it's just the spillover of regular news you'd expect from a US based site.

Re:Why are these stories on /.? (4, Informative)

Hognoxious (631665) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480761)

Since when were tech and computers synonyms?

Chemical engineering is tech, moron.

Coincidence? (1)

hcs_$reboot (1536101) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480329)

or is it related to the Boston bomb attack..?

Re:Coincidence? (1)

sg_oneill (159032) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480361)

Unlikely. Factory fires (This started off as a fire) happen all the time. This one was just unfortunate enough to happen where a metric shit tonne of amonium nitrate happened to be.

Re:Coincidence? (2)

Hognoxious (631665) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480433)

How much is that in imperial fuckloads?

Re:Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480393)

My comprehensive and exhaustive in-depth analysis to your stupid question says: "No."

Re:Coincidence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480401)

Sure thing, everything is connected... Why not blow up a random factory in the middle of nowhere to leave an impression..?

Re:Coincidence? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480601)

It did cause more losses, and would make it harder to catch the attacker afterwards. If terrorists wre smart they would do sabotage instead of bombings.

Re:Coincidence? (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480825)

The relevant metric is not only "people killed", but also "people scared" and "amount of disruption due to people being scared". The last two are massively higher with bombings in cities or of civilian infrastructure. Places that you can sabotage is also better protected than the average intersection.

Re:Coincidence? (1)

Paperweight (865007) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480459)

Well, since West, TX [goo.gl] is 20 miles from Waco, and it's almost the 20th anniversary of the Waco siege of April 19th 1993, I assume that's where the antichrist will be making his appearance tomorrow.

nuclear or terrorist (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480341)

if its not nuclear or terrorist nobody cares.

Re:nuclear or terrorist (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480569)

It's pronounced "nucular" and "terrist", you anti-american commie!

Also, "foillage".

Impressive video (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480351)

That video is impressive. Watch the video, show it to your kids, and tell them to bear it in mind next time you see someone successfully outrunning an explosion in a Hollywood film.

And an Exxon refinery caught fire (2)

thegarbz (1787294) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480415)

Not quite on the same scale and completely lost in the news of this explosion there was a fire at Exxon in Beaumont [nasdaq.com] with 12 people injured. Not a good day for Texas industry.

Re: And an Exxon refinery caught fire (-1, Flamebait)

Mabhatter (126906) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480567)

Go Right-to-Work states. I mean right to summarily fire your employees for complaining about dangerous conditions.... I get those confused.

Best part is that fertilizer will be more expensive ths year! Go Business!

Is this nerd news? (1, Insightful)

Bearhouse (1034238) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480427)

Interesting that just the other day we were discussing here about "exploitation" of social media sites etc. to drive traffic to "tech" sites after the Boston bombs.
Here we have links to BBC, CNN & even Youtube?
I assume like many /;ers I already get my "mainstream" news from the BBC etc. Do we need this?

Re:Is this nerd news? (1)

tehcyder (746570) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480615)

I think it's probably seen as "stuff that matters" because of heightened paranoia following the Boston Marathon bombings, even though there is no apparent evidence that this was deliberate.

People have also mentioned the Waco "connection" here too. I think the US psyche is in a bit of a frazzled state at the moment.

Re:Is this nerd news? (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480827)

For the discussion of what could have caused it by people who know about fertilizer plants?

Fertilizer hazard underrated (5, Interesting)

ta_gueule (2795275) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480431)

Fertilizers are extremely dangerous and should be handled with more care. A similar thing happened in my town 12 years ago. If was on 21/9/2001, so 10 days after 11/9/2001 and therefore nobody heard about it but it left some 30 people dead and a city in ruins. Look up AZF in Toulouse on the web to see what I'm talking about. They first blamed it on the terrorists and later admitted it was an industrial accident. Like in Texas, the AZF factory was build out of the town but the town grown and it found itself in the middle of it. Poor urban planning.

Re:Fertilizer hazard underrated (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480497)

I believe in this scenario there should be a plan to abandon the site and let it burn or blow up. And obviously there should be a buffer zone around the plant, as there are around airports. No residential, just commercial land.

Re:Fertilizer hazard underrated (2)

ta_gueule (2795275) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480577)

Well, the explosion propagates at the speed of sound, so abandoning the site is not an option. In Toulouse, the explosion occurred when 2 chemical products entered in contact (ammonium and nitrate if I'm not mistaken) It left a crater 200 meters wide. Although the biggest damage occurred near the factory, Steel girders were found 3km away, windows blown up 20 km away and the seismic activity was recorded in Paris (800 km away)

Re:Fertilizer hazard underrated (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480593)

In this instance a fire preceded the explosion, so the plant could have been abandoned when the fire was discovered, if there had been no immediate threat to public safety. I agree that the idea doesn't work for all cases.

Eerie recollection of AZF, France (2)

Jesrad (716567) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480451)

This explosion appears very similar to that of the AZF chemical plant near Toulouse in France [wikipedia.org] , though (thankfully) smaller in damage and victims.

Fire and ammonium nitrate deposits... like match and dynamite.

Wikipedia has a page of ammonium nitrate disasters (5, Informative)

Michael Woodhams (112247) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480583)

Here [wikipedia.org] , listing 24 previous disasters, the largest of which [wikipedia.org] was also in Texas. You'd think they, of all places, would know to keep large quantities of ammonium nitrate away from population centers (or vice versa).

Scarily, some of those disasters were from when a large quantity of ammonium nitrate powder had solidified and people tried to break it up with explosives.

The news reports I'm seeing don't actually say it was an ammonium nitrate explosion in this case, although it seems a reasonable supposition.

Aint it weird... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480483)

Bomb in boston.. Kills a couple ppl. Injures a bunch.
Country loses its fucking mind and we'll get some new 'security' laws in place etc...

Industrial explosion kills 100+ from the last i was reading.
And not one single thing will change. At all. No more industrial controls than we have now. The last time this company got fined for safety violations they paid $3,000. Nothing really.

I don't get it... If we really have a problem with the whole 'people dying' thing.. Why don't we spend some money on the things that kill the most people..

But no... We go all nuts over some gun deaths or a bombing.. Ignore the stuff mostly that kills way more.
When on the larger scale of things... At it's worst only 20,000 a year died from guns back in the 90's... It's gone WAY down since then.

And yet every year... ~40,000 people will die from aspirin overdose...

40k is alot more than 20k... Have we ever seen one bit of info or warnings about aspirin? Nope.

Drunk drivers kill ~10,000 people a year...
Hell, ~30,000 people a year die on the roads... Have we worked very hard to fix that yet?

I just don't get it... Our sense of scale is completely fucked up.

We spend TRILLIONS and take away peoples rights because 'terrorisim'. And yet in a single year more people die from aspirin than have EVER died from terrorisim in the usa....

It makes no sense.

Re:Aint it weird... (1)

tehcyder (746570) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480651)

And yet every year... ~40,000 people will die from aspirin overdose...

The only cure for that is to make suicide (or extreme stupidity) illegal.

Re:Aint it weird... (1)

Phase Shifter (70817) | 1 year,6 days | (#43480677)

Industrial explosion kills 100+ from the last i was reading.

You need to start thinking critically about where you get your information. At this point, there are only two confirmed dead and six missing firefighters (probably also dead, but you never know)

Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480589)

I'm kind of surprised this one hasn't been blamed on muslims as well.

This is nerd-worthy news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480715)

I get this type of news from the mainstream outlets already.

Huge explosion in Texas (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,6 days | (#43480787)

Up to 25 cents of damage may have been caused!

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