Waco Texas fertilizer plant explodes 60-70 dead, hundreds missing

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Goldbricker, Apr 18, 2013.

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  1. The article says there was a fire at the plant before the explosion, so probably coincidence...
     
  2. It's all very odd. Isn't it the Oklahoma bombing and Waco siege anniversary this week along with the gun vote in the senate? I suppose you have to look at them as separate incidents but there's some seriously strange militia groups in the US.

    Hopefully this was a tragic accident/malfunction rather than anything more sinister.
     
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  3. My supposition is coincidence. The ricin was a lone guy who makes his living as an Elvis impersonator at bars and has for years has spent his spare time writing letters about a government conspiracy involving the illegal sale of organs for transplant, Sound like a local person who is baring mad

    Boston I have no real idea who did it, I just hope they get the bastard.

    Texas started as a fire in a fertilizer pland with a large tan or tanks of anhydrous amonia, a chemical refered to by my firefighter friends as "nasty shit" but widely used as a fertilizer in the US west. Also recently widely used as a refrigerant as the Monteal Protocol required stopping CFS's as refrigerants in order to protect the ozone layer. The problem is that the replacement chemicals ammonia and HFC's as ammonia is very dangerous and increas use of HFC's is believed to be a major factor in global warming. The death toll mentioned above is significantly higher that what the US networks are saying but it is early. It does not sound good for the fire fighters who were inside the plant when the tan blew.
     
  4. Must have been one hell of a bang. Doesn't look good for the firefighters.
     
  5. Anhydrous Ammonia, Isn't that close to chlorine gas?
     
  6. Sounds very bad for the FF's News reports I have heard indicate that water applied to a fire somehow caused an explosion . Makes me think of the Starck Metals fire near Boston 18-20 years ago where the fire department used water on a burning sodium fire triggering a explosion/fire that severely injured 11 firefighters. I seem to recall that one FF had his eyes and face destroyed by burning liquid sodium. The investigation indicated that the appropriate fire department response would have been to stay back, let the fire burn itself out and if needed prevent spread to other buildings.
     
  7. jellyvodka, basic chemistry, anhydrous ammonia = NH3; chlorine = Cl. They are as different as chalk and cheese, however a lungfull of either will give you a nasty cough,
    but not for long.
     
  8. Both are toxic. Ammonia (NH3) is flamable, narrow explosive limits but very nasty when it explodes. Chlorine is an oxidizer, the gas does what oxygen does for fires but much more strongly/violently. Interesting if Chlorine reacts with ammonia it is really really nasty and produces another explosive chemical.

    By the way the ammonia water used as a cleaner and chlorine bleach (6% sodium hypochlorite solution) will react to produce chlorine gas which is the reason supermarkets always keep the two products at opposite ends of the soap/cleaners aisle to prevent accidents.
     
  9. Cheers, I really should have listened more all those years ago.
     
  10. Coincidence is more likely.

    Understanding the US approach to safety law and then comparing it to the UK is tricky, as it is very different.
    Generally there is an focus on personal safety over plant safety.
    I can't recollect if there is a COMAH system enforced over there or if it is done on a case by case basis.

    The bit I find gobsmacking is the list of properties damaged; nursing homes, schools and apartment blocks.

    The main focus now (quite rightly) is the emergency response and those killed/injured.

    In time, when the investigation starts, it will be interesting to see if it results in any significant legislative change for the US.

    Here Flixborough in 1974 led to COMAH, Piper Alpha extended it offshore.
     
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  11. I very much fear you are right. Does not look good for the FFs..

    Could anyone tell an interloper from Septicstan what COMAH means. I would like to answer the question if I can..