The explosion at the WEST, Texas fertilizer plant is a study in the dangers we face today. The question is twofold: “What went wrong?” and “How do we Prevent This in the Future?”
What went wrong is that residences and a school were too close to a sitting time bomb. Experts recommend houses be set back a certain distance for every ton of explosive material on the plant premises. This was not done.
As a result insurance estimates are that damages will exceed $100 million and that 140 homes were destroyed in the blast, according to this article. Obviously, we need to separate people from these dangerous situations to avoid the loss of life and damages inflicted.
The West firefighters, from reports I’ve seen, did not have knowledge of the exact chemicals and that water would likely cause a reaction. For their safety, the fire should have been allowed to burn as everyone was evacuated.
As to the second question: “How do we prevent this in the future?” Easy: Keep plants away from people and schools. And hardened the buildings’ weakest link – their glass. Once a blast wave hits glass and blows it in, the internal pressure then blows apart the building. People are riddled with glass shrapnel. Only something like Armor Glass Security Film would prevent that damage and destruction – it is rated for a Level 2 explosion, not just hurricanes and heat.
This learn from this nightmare and work to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Our prayers go out to the families of the victims in WEST (and Boston).
Armor Glass has made a contribution to the Salvation Army for WEST. We encourage others to do the same at this link: https://donate.salvationarmyusa.org/texas/WestExplosion