The Unfortunate Consequences of Neglect
Waco, Texas has a long and rich history in the United States of America. Unfortunately for Waco, it has also been the home of many tragedies, starting not long after it was explored by Thomas Duke for its potential for white settling in 1824. Duke’s report of Waco being a habitable location led to its indigenous people, the Waco, being forced out of their home. In 1916, a black teenager convicted of murdering a white woman was abducted by a mob just inside of the courthouse. Once he was drug outside he was tortured and drug through the streets. He was mutilated while still alive and eventually burned to death, all while nearly 15,000 spectators watched. Later in the 1950s a tornado blew through Waco, killing over 110 people and making the list as one of the deadliest tornados in American history. In 1993, a cult known as the Branch Davidians held a standoff with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, culminating in the eventual death of over 80 people. And once again, on April 17th, 2013, Waco suffered yet another tragedy.
Just north of the city of Waco the West Fertilizer Company produced fertilizer for American farmers. On any normal day this company would house ammonium nitrate, anhydrous ammonia, Grazonnext, Reclaim, Remedy Ultra, Surmount, and Yuma (Adair, 2013). While the specific use of each of these chemicals in unimportant, it is important to understand that each chemical listed here has specific warnings for their extreme level of reactivity or flammability. When proper safety protocol is followed, these warnings have served their purpose. Unfortunately, the West Fertilizer had a long history of ignoring safety protocol, which result...
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... Waco’s citizens and the rest of the world unsure of how to make sense of it all.
Adair, D. (2013). Emergency and hazardous chemical inventory. Retrieved from http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Adair-Grain-Inc-2012-Tier-2-Report.pdf
Hananel, S. (2014). Texas fertilizer plant had last osha inspection in 1985. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/18/texas-fertilizer-plant-ha_n_3113117.html
Hemenway, C. (2013). West fertilizer co. carried only $1m in liability insurance: authorities launch criminal investigation of explosion. Property Casualty 360-National Underwriter, 117(6), 14. doi: A339733708
Loftis, R. (2013). Analysis: West fertilizer report details sequence of a catastrophe. Retrieved from http://www.dallasnews.com/news/west-explosion/headlines/20130516-west-fertilizer-report-details-sequence-of-a-catastrophe.ece