Texas explosion’s effect in mid-westFargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The search continues in a Texas farm town for survivors of last night's massive explosion at a fertilizer plant.
By: Andrea Hubbell, WDAY Staff Reports, WDAY
Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - The search continues in a Texas farm town for survivors of last night's massive explosion at a fertilizer plant.
Rescuers in West are going through smoking ruins looking for victims. The accident killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160 others. And this isn't the first time an industrial accident has destroyed a town.
Cities like Port Neal, Iowa and Minot have experienced similar chemical disasters.
Right now, experts believe the chemical ammonia nitrate could be to blame for the fertilizer plant explosion. A product like that isn't used in Minnesota or North Dakota and is extremely limited across the U.S. But there are other highly explosive chemicals carried through the mid-west every single day.
Dr. Dave Franzen, Extension Soil Specialist: “It’s an explosive.”
The video is gut-wrenching. As this Waco, Texas plant explodes, rattling the county and destroying over 75 structures in its radius
But what if this happened a little closer to home?
Franzen: "When you manufacture it, there has to be a lot of care taken and a lot of safe guards and it's unfortunate that this happened."
There are already plans in the works to build one fertilizer plant in the upper mid-west.
Franzen: "People that design the plant will have to take this into consideration and make sure everybody is trained and procedures are followed and they're far away from people."
If a chemical reaction were to happen in the valley, Fargo's Fire Department says they would be forced to evacuate people in a half a mile radius.
Capt. Everett Patterson, Fargo Fire Dept.: "But after the explosion it's pretty much just trying to rescue anybody that might be involved."
Hazardous material teams even have software to help them determine the exact measures they would take if an explosion like this were to happen.
Franzen: "It's not a good thing."
Extension soil expert Dave Franzen says right now that chance is slim to none. Especially since the high flammable material is almost impossible to find.
Franzen: "It's not just something you can take off the shelf. You can't go to any big box store and pick up a bag of ammonia nitrate."
Here in Fargo, the BNSF railway does haul a different type of fertilizer with a chemical called urea, but experts say that's hard to ignite.