Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

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KnightExemplar
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby KnightExemplar » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:03 am UTC

How is that organized in the US? Is it the department of Homeland security's job to inform local fire departments about dangerous materials stored in their district? That seems a weird way to organize things. I'd expect that to be the job of a state, or even local, department, such as the TDSHS. If I'm not mistaken over here in The Netherlands companies have to report such information directly to the fire department.


I doubt it is organized on a national level. The Department of Homeland Security is pretty broad, ranging from anti-terrorism to national emergency / fire response (including FEMA). While fire safety does seem to fall under the DHS, Fire Departments are organized on a more local scale.

Looking into it more, the main regulations that are getting cited are:
* Homeland Security's Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (http://www.dhs.gov/chemical-facility-an ... -standards) -- Standards that ensure that terrorists cannot steal explosives from plants like this. If you're going to be storing that much explosives, you need to ensure that you have a proper level of security guarding it.
* Environmental Protection Agency (According to the report they turned into the EPA: there were no fire / explosion risks)

It also sounds like they weren't following OSHA standards either (Occupational Safety and Health Agency)

Fire-fighters going in without knowing what they are facing is inexcusable. That's really huge screw-up, on several levels. The fire department obviously should have known what is out there, but even if they weren't, they should have noticed this. Someone at the headquarters should have tried to go over those files and noticed they were missing. Finally, presumably there were people at the plant when the fire broke out, and they should have informed the fire department as well.

Of course we don't know if this is the case. But if it turns out to be, and it turns out the plant owners lied to the fire department about what they had, I think murder charges are entirely reasonable.


Murder implies intent to kill. Its probably closer to a "involuntary manslaughter" case. It is clear that major regulations were not followed in this case.
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sardia
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby sardia » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:42 am UTC

Pfft, you'd be get slapped with negligence, at worst. More likely, you'll get a settlement payment with no admission of guilt.

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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Tyndmyr » Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:39 pm UTC

From what they're dissecting now, it looks like some were aware, some weren't, and it mostly varied on individual familiarity with the area.

Also, the amount of Ammonium Nitrate involved frequently stated was a 2012 number, IIRC. Nobody really knows for sure just how much they had in there at the time of the blast, but obviously, it had to be a fairly substantial amount. They stored other chemicals as well, which may have contributed to the fire or blast, but they've confirmed that the blast does originate from the area where the Ammonium Nitrate was kept, so that does seem to be the primary issue.

Additionally, though the fed didn't really do much here, they were routinely inspected by the state, which didn't apparently find them problematic or pass them on to federal agencies for closer monitoring.

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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Thesh » Sat May 04, 2013 8:08 pm UTC

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/ ... story.html

DALLAS — A lawyer says that the Texas fertilizer plant that exploded last month, killing 14 people, injuring more than 200 others and damaging or destroying property for blocks in every direction was only insured for up to $1 million in liability.

Tyler lawyer Rancy C. Roberts said Saturday that he and other attorneys who have filed lawsuits against West Fertilizer’s owners were told Thursday about the size of its policy.

An insurance industry group estimates that it may have caused up to $100 million in damage.
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Роберт » Mon May 06, 2013 2:04 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/attorney-texas-fertilizer-plant-that-exploded-carried-only-1-million-in-liability-coverage/2013/05/04/cccab504-b4e8-11e2-9fb1-62de9581c946_story.html

DALLAS — A lawyer says that the Texas fertilizer plant that exploded last month, killing 14 people, injuring more than 200 others and damaging or destroying property for blocks in every direction was only insured for up to $1 million in liability.

Tyler lawyer Rancy C. Roberts said Saturday that he and other attorneys who have filed lawsuits against West Fertilizer’s owners were told Thursday about the size of its policy.

An insurance industry group estimates that it may have caused up to $100 million in damage.

Sounds like some executives will need to go to prison.
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Garm
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Garm » Mon May 06, 2013 4:22 pm UTC

I find your optimism charming.
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby sardia » Mon May 06, 2013 4:23 pm UTC

Sounds like some executives may pay a settlement as they jump out with their golden parachutes into another high paying job.
There, FTFY

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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Роберт » Mon May 06, 2013 4:25 pm UTC

sardia wrote:Sounds like some executives may pay a settlement as they jump out with their golden parachutes into another high paying job.
There, FTFY

Who would hire them?
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Arrian » Mon May 06, 2013 4:41 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Sounds like some executives will need to go to prison.


What law are you proposing they broke by carrying only $1 million in liability insurance? Or do you just want to put them in jail because they were jackasses?

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Garm
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Garm » Mon May 06, 2013 4:42 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
sardia wrote:Sounds like some executives may pay a settlement as they jump out with their golden parachutes into another high paying job.
There, FTFY

Who would hire them?


Anyone who valued the ability to hide shit from local and federal governments. Or some company at which the sit on the board of directors.
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby eran_rathan » Mon May 06, 2013 5:08 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sounds like some executives will need to go to prison.


What law are you proposing they broke by carrying only $1 million in liability insurance? Or do you just want to put them in jail because they were jackasses?


Carrying insufficient insurance is a crime in several states.

(can't seem to find it in the Texas statutes, but I have to return to doing actual work now that my lunch break is over).
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby sardia » Mon May 06, 2013 5:27 pm UTC

Garm wrote:
Роберт wrote:
sardia wrote:Sounds like some executives may pay a settlement as they jump out with their golden parachutes into another high paying job.
There, FTFY

Who would hire them?


Anyone who valued the ability to hide shit from local and federal governments. Or some company at which the sit on the board of directors.

The nice thing about no fault/no admission settlements is that you aren't convicted of anything. Then you just skip your way to the next board of directors or w/e executive position in some other company.

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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Роберт » Mon May 06, 2013 6:01 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sounds like some executives will need to go to prison.


What law are you proposing they broke by carrying only $1 million in liability insurance? Or do you just want to put them in jail because they were jackasses?

The law that if you blow up an apartment complex, you have to pay for it? "You break it, you buy it" is the summary. :P

Seriously though, there is often TOO MUCH regulation. You want me to believe the existing regulation didn't make what happened at the plant illegal? You don't think they are liable for the damage done?
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Technical Ben » Mon May 06, 2013 6:38 pm UTC

Thesh wrote:http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/attorney-texas-fertilizer-plant-that-exploded-carried-only-1-million-in-liability-coverage/2013/05/04/cccab504-b4e8-11e2-9fb1-62de9581c946_story.html

DALLAS — A lawyer says that the Texas fertilizer plant that exploded last month, killing 14 people, injuring more than 200 others and damaging or destroying property for blocks in every direction was only insured for up to $1 million in liability.

Tyler lawyer Rancy C. Roberts said Saturday that he and other attorneys who have filed lawsuits against West Fertilizer’s owners were told Thursday about the size of its policy.

An insurance industry group estimates that it may have caused up to $100 million in damage.


Wow, I hope all those involved get the help they need, as this will not make it easy. Here in the Uk, a self employed person will be offered a 2 mill policy as standard, with options up to 10 mill no doubt available (not checked). The prices are very good too. But definitely higher for high risk employment or businesses. Still, the higher cost would be little excuse really. :(
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Arrian » Tue May 07, 2013 1:40 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
Arrian wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sounds like some executives will need to go to prison.


What law are you proposing they broke by carrying only $1 million in liability insurance? Or do you just want to put them in jail because they were jackasses?

The law that if you blow up an apartment complex, you have to pay for it? "You break it, you buy it" is the summary. :P

Seriously though, there is often TOO MUCH regulation. You want me to believe the existing regulation didn't make what happened at the plant illegal? You don't think they are liable for the damage done?


I think they're liable, but I doubt that they're criminally liable for the cost of the damage. You [intentionally] blow up an apartment building, you go to jail... for blowing up the apartment building [or whatever criminal activity led to accidentally blowing up the apartment building.] Then the owners, more likely their insurance company, sue you to recover damages. But that's a civil matter and while they'll probably get a judgment in their favor, they'll only get money out of you until you go bankrupt. You don't go to jail for not being able to pay for a _civil_ ruling.

Even most regulations about things like insurance are civil matters meaning you pay a fine for not carrying enough insurance, you don't go to jail. I would not be surprised at all if the minimum liability insurance for a company like that were $1 million, meaning they were in compliance with the law even though the coverage was woefully inadequate.

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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Роберт » Tue May 07, 2013 2:39 pm UTC

Arrian wrote:
Роберт wrote:
Arrian wrote:
Роберт wrote:Sounds like some executives will need to go to prison.


What law are you proposing they broke by carrying only $1 million in liability insurance? Or do you just want to put them in jail because they were jackasses?

The law that if you blow up an apartment complex, you have to pay for it? "You break it, you buy it" is the summary. :P

Seriously though, there is often TOO MUCH regulation. You want me to believe the existing regulation didn't make what happened at the plant illegal? You don't think they are liable for the damage done?


I think they're liable, but I doubt that they're criminally liable for the cost of the damage. You [intentionally] blow up an apartment building, you go to jail... for blowing up the apartment building [or whatever criminal activity led to accidentally blowing up the apartment building.] Then the owners, more likely their insurance company, sue you to recover damages. But that's a civil matter and while they'll probably get a judgment in their favor, they'll only get money out of you until you go bankrupt. You don't go to jail for not being able to pay for a _civil_ ruling.

Even most regulations about things like insurance are civil matters meaning you pay a fine for not carrying enough insurance, you don't go to jail. I would not be surprised at all if the minimum liability insurance for a company like that were $1 million, meaning they were in compliance with the law even though the coverage was woefully inadequate.

Maybe. People died, though. Criminal negligence and other charges do exist.
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby sardia » Tue May 07, 2013 3:31 pm UTC

So does treason and other high crimes. Doesn't mean people regularly get convicted or even tried for it. It's much more likely that there will be a settlement with no admission of guilt.

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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Роберт » Tue May 07, 2013 3:58 pm UTC

sardia wrote:So does treason and other high crimes. Doesn't mean people regularly get convicted or even tried for it. It's much more likely that there will be a settlement with no admission of guilt.

That's unfortunately true. I'm assuming that there was wrongdoing on there part.
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Garm » Tue May 07, 2013 4:34 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
sardia wrote:So does treason and other high crimes. Doesn't mean people regularly get convicted or even tried for it. It's much more likely that there will be a settlement with no admission of guilt.

That's unfortunately true. I'm assuming that there was wrongdoing on there part.


Well there was. They had tons of explosive fertilizer when you're only supposed to have 400 pounds. That's criminally negligent at the very least (in the case the execs didn't know how much shit was stored there), willfully breaking federal law at worst (is it really worst? I'm sure there's something even worse than that). I don't think any of these fucks will go to prison, however richly they deserve it.
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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Arrian » Wed May 08, 2013 2:08 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Maybe. People died, though. Criminal negligence and other charges do exist.


Absolutely, I agree with that.

But there's been a lot of talk lately with people asking "Why doesn't xxx go to jail for <some complete dick move that isn't criminal>?" That's why I quoted the comment regarding their level of insurance.

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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Iulus Cofield » Fri May 10, 2013 9:13 pm UTC

This was an unexpected turn.

Paramedic from Texas plant blast arrested for pipe bomb

Officials are mum on whether the arrest is linked to the explosion that killed 14 last month.

A volunteer paramedic who was among the first on the scene of a fire and massive explosion last month at a West, Texas fertilizer plant was arrested early Friday and charged with possession of a destructive device after telling authorities a pipe bomb and other items related to destructive devices found at another residence were his.

Officials have not said whether the arrest of Bryce Reed is related to the April 17 explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. that killed 14 people, injured around 200 and destroyed hundreds of homes in the vicinity.

The arrest came as Texas law enforcement officials said they had launched a criminal investigation into the massive fertilizer plant explosion.
...

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Re: Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire/Explosion

Postby Роберт » Fri May 10, 2013 9:42 pm UTC

That certainly sounds worth investigating.
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