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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Residents near fertilizer plant blast site allowed access to their destroyed homes

Washington Post: Officials in this small Texas town ravaged by a fertilizer company explosion started allowing residents to return to their wrecked homes to collect belongings on Saturday afternoon.

The owners of the West Fertilizer Co. plant, which triggered a massive explosion Wednesday night, issued a statement Friday expressing regret for the 14 deaths and massive structural damage caused by the blast.

Owner Donald Adair said his “heart is broken with grief for the tragic losses,” noting that one of his employees, who was a volunteer firefighter, was among the dead. The toll of the explosion, which damaged 50 homes and wounded roughly 200 people, “will continue to hurt deeply for generations to come,” Adair added.

The explosion has raised troubling questions about the oversight of plants that store highly volatile chemicals such as ammonium nitrate, which has been used to make bombs.
I don’t really have much to add here, other than to point out that WaPo deserves some praise for putting this under the heading of “National Security” — where it belongs — rather than under “Business” or the generic “National News.” Unregulated industry is a matter of national security and more people need to start talking about it in that light.

[photo by The Bay Area’s News Station]

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