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  1. #1
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    I really hate to say this, but the explosion was probably the fault of the firemen.

    The fertilizer is non-explosive under normal conditions. Even if the entire plant was on fire it shouldn't have exploded. However, there is a very specific type of warning with the chemical in the fertilizer that says water should NEVER be applied to it as it converts the anhydrous ammonia to a vapor, and if that vapor reaches a certain density then it becomes highly explosive.

    West is a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. There are less than 2,700 people living there. They do not have a professional fire department, because of their size and small tax base they are limited to a volunteer fire department and probably lacked the training on how to deal with this chemical. Reports are that they were fighting the fire for about half an hour before the explosion, and I'm willing to bet that they were pouring water on the fire the entire time.

    I'm sure it was just a massive mistake, but if the firemen used water on the fire then they are the ones that caused the explosion.

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    Judging from that explosion in the video, as bad as it is to say it, it's lucky that only a handful of people lost their lives. It was massive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoyBettaKnow View Post
    Judging from that explosion in the video, as bad as it is to say it, it's lucky that only a handful of people lost their lives. It was massive.
    Thing again...

    Quote Originally Posted by CNN
    While Swanton said the death toll could be between five and 15, Dr. George Smith, the city's emergency management system director, said it could spike to 60 or 70.
    Link

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    5-15 in the grand scheme of things isn't too bad of a number. Obviously if it jumps up to 70 then that would be pretty bad but even still. For an explosion like that it could've been a lot worse. If the population is as low as CA said then it's quite lucky it happened out in the sticks rather than a built up area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Completely Average View Post
    I really hate to say this, but the explosion was probably the fault of the firemen.

    The fertilizer is non-explosive under normal conditions. Even if the entire plant was on fire it shouldn't have exploded. However, there is a very specific type of warning with the chemical in the fertilizer that says water should NEVER be applied to it as it converts the anhydrous ammonia to a vapor, and if that vapor reaches a certain density then it becomes highly explosive.

    West is a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. There are less than 2,700 people living there. They do not have a professional fire department, because of their size and small tax base they are limited to a volunteer fire department and probably lacked the training on how to deal with this chemical. Reports are that they were fighting the fire for about half an hour before the explosion, and I'm willing to bet that they were pouring water on the fire the entire time.

    I'm sure it was just a massive mistake, but if the firemen used water on the fire then they are the ones that caused the explosion.
    So why not call in a more experienced fire department before doing anything?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Completely Average View Post
    I really hope that kid doesn't develop ear conditions like hyperacusis and tinnitus from that blast, let alone hearing loss. That would ruin his life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ixion View Post
    I really hope that kid doesn't develop ear conditions like hyperacusis and tinnitus from that blast, let alone hearing loss. That would ruin his life.
    Pretty sure some permanent hearing loss is going to occur.

    They don't seem to be more than 1-2 thousand yards from the plant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MATRIX 2 View Post
    So why not call in a more experienced fire department before doing anything?
    The nearest city with a full time fire department is 20 miles away. Add in the time it takes to assess the situation, make the calls, and have the other fire departments respond it probably would have taken close to an hour for them to arrive. By that time there wouldn't be much of a fire left.

    Hind-sight being 20/20 that would have been the better choice. At the time though, they were probably worried that the entire town could burn down before anyone else got there.

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    like this is anything completely new
    Plato and Aristotle, a detail of The School of Athens, a fresco by Raphael. Aristotle gestures to the earth, representing his belief in knowledge

  12. #12
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    Unfortunately I must say this again, but condolences to the family and friends of the victims. Also hope that the father and child are OK after that traumatizing event. Especially with the child not being able to hear. That's very scary stuff and I hope it works out for him/her. I hope there is a follow-up story saying all is well.


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