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Stargate Monuments


Martha Wells

My Flying Lizard Circus

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Stargate Monuments

West, Texas

West is the little town about an hour and a half north of where I live where the fertilizer factory explosion happened last week. At least 14 people were killed and over 160 injured. A school, a nursing home, and an apartment complex plus a number of houses were hit by the blast and mostly destroyed. The middle school and the high school were also damaged and may have to be knocked down.

It's a small town that was settled in the late 1800s by Czech and German immigrants. Here, it's mostly famous for Czech pastries, and Lillian13 talks about that here.

The Houston Chronicle has this report on some of the firefighters and first responders who were killed here.

The West disaster relief fund is taking donations here.

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Thanks for that donation link. I've been looking for the right place to donate, and that looks like the one.

The situation in West is incredibly sad. My heart goes out to the entire community there.

What makes me so very angry to know is that profit was put in front of the safety of the community; I read one article that stated that the plant had not been fully OSHA inspected since 1985 - when the company was fined just $30 for serious chemical storage violations, and an additional $1,000 for a serious violation of respiratory protection standards. (They were fined $5,200 on the back of a partial inspection in 2011.)

Oh, and those running the plant did not disclose to the appropriate agencies that they were storing close to 1,500 times more ammonium nitrate than would have triggered oversight by the Department of Homeland Security. In fact, there has been speculation that the DHS didn't even know the plant existed until after it blew up, despite other agencies knowing it was storing chemicals in excess of the amounts requiring oversight under the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act. I consider that to mean that the plant deliberately sought to stay under the radar.

Whilst it won't bring those who have died back, nor will it reverse any permanent disability suffered by those injured, I hope the residents of West sue the plant owners for every penny they have, including any insurance money they get for the destruction of the plant. (Assuming they bothered with insurance.)

Thank you for the link for sending in donations. Like the first commenter, I've been trying to find the right place...

Yeah, the plant operators are completely responsible for this and I hope they get sued like crazy. I wish they could have criminal charges against them too.

As it is a company, I never considered the idea of criminal charges. I totally agree though - if it is possible, the owners should have criminal charges brought against them. Starting with 14 charges of negligent homicide. And if they can't get them on that, I'm sure Homeland Security will have some charges to level regarding their failure to report their holding of huge amounts of such dangerous chemicals.

Yes, I really hope that's the case.

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