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U.S. Chemical Safety Board Continues Investigation into West Fertilizer Plant Explosion

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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced on Wednesday, June 12, 2013 that they will refuse to provide additional money to help rebuild West, Texas, where a deadly fertilizer plant explosion leveled numerous homes and a school, and killed 15 people-the U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) will continue investigating the ammonium nitrate explosion at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas. The agency is currently conducting witness interviews and collecting evidence related to the explosion. CSB has already documented blast damage and patterns in the community. In addition, the investigation team plans to test and analyze the chemical samples to determine the actual and potential causes of the blast, as well as the nature and magnitude of the explosion. CSB's investigation include the following:

  • ammonium nitrate safe handling and storage standards in the U.S. and in other countries, such as the U.K. and Australia;
  • land use planning and zoning practices for high-hazard facilities in relation to schools, public facilities, and residential areas;
  • ammonium nitrate detonation mechanisms;
  • the effectiveness of regulatory coverage, including OSHA, EPA, and state regulations; and
  • whether there are inherently safer products or safer ways to store ammonium nitrate and mitigate the damage should a fire or explosion occur.

CSB Chairperson Moure-Eraso stated that, "[t]his accident produced far more offsite community damage and destruction than any we have investigated since [CSB] opened its doors in 1998." CSB plans to release a comprehensive root-cause report with recommendations once the investigation concludes.

If you or someone you know have been seriously injured as a result of the West fertilizer plant explosion, contact the attorneys at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend by calling 713-396-3964 or 1-800-594-4884.

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