An explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas has left several people dead and as many as 160 people injured. Families of the victims may be able to file wrongful death suits against the plant. The explosion, which is being called an industrial accident, resulted in a fire taking over nearby homes. The plant was already on fire for about 25 minutes before the blast hit. The blast was reported to be similar to an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.1.
The explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Co. in a small town about 20 miles north of Waco, Texas. The exact number of deaths is unknown at this time, but recent counts put the total close to 15 people. The fatalities include first responders, employees of the fertilizer company and residents in the area. Firefighters and EMS workers pitched in to put out the fire and recover bodies, but not all have been found yet. Over 50 houses and buildings also have been destroyed.
Authorities have no reason to believe that the explosion was anything but an accident, but the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board are investigating it further.
The fertilizer plant may be found to be negligent if it did not take the proper measures to ensure worker safety. The facility’s management plan did state that it did not have sprinklers or any other way to combat fires because it was not handling flammable materials. The company reportedly did make an effort to correct this after the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration found that the plant was not able to transport flammable anhydrous ammonia safely.
Industrial accidents can sometimes result in wrongful death suits from families who lost a loved one due to negligence. The damages from these lawsuits will help the families recover from such a terrible tragedy.
Source: USA Today, “Search continues in rubble of Texas blast,” Rick Jervis and Doug Stanglin, April 18, 2013