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Plant explosion

Plant explosion

RE: Plant explosion

Texas has the record for nitrate plant explosions from Texas City on...West is the most recent.

What was the plant producing?

RE: Plant explosion

"County Judge Jeff Branick says there are no reports of any fatalities and only three people with injuries..."
"There is damage reported to homes and even a school in the area..."
"The plant produces butadiene and raffinate.
"Butadiene is a colorless has used to make synthetic rubber and plastics, and to make other chemicals.
"Raffinate is the residual product left after a reforming process. It’s also a colorless gas."
Sounds to me like maybe a vapor cloud explosion.

I grew up on the coast, and that kind of thing is not THAT uncommon- you have miles and miles of chemical plants and refineries there.
I just assumed that's how the world was.
But I think there is more oil and gas work in Harris County, Texas, than in all of Colorado and Wyoming combined.
West, Texas, however, is kind of a different situation, that could have happened a lot of different places- agricultural application, not related to the oil/gas/chemical production.
When I was a kid, I was going to the doctor's with my mom and we heard a loud "Foom!" from across the way.
Later found out, that was a tank car exploding at Dow Chemical. Seems like a pump had overheated or something of the sort. Killed two or three men, with not much found in the way of remains.
My dad lives several miles from any of the plants, but you can hear occasional emergency sirens (different signals for gas release, all-clear, etc.)

RE: Plant explosion

The video in the link by old field guy seems to show a vapour cloud explosion ( big flash high in the sky ) as opposed to a BLEVE or a tank explosion.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

RE: Plant explosion

In this video a Saturn V appears to return from the Moon at T+ 0m 20s.
So, assuming that 20 seconds is the TOF at a launch angle of 90 degrees, it results in approximately an initial velocity of 320 fps and apogee at an altitude of 1600 ft! It looks like the explosion must have been right under that VV, as there appears to have been negligible horizontal displacement. If Houston keeps sending up these kinds of things, they will have to reopen NASA' Mission Control Center.

RE: Plant explosion

Usually a major plant incident like this one is investigated by the US Chemical Safety Board www.csb.gov

But this important federal agency has been targeted to be defunded and disbanded by the Trump administration ....

Sr. Process Engineer

RE: Plant explosion

Which would make a lot of business interests in Texas very happy. After all, the state agency responsible for these plants exists in name only. I understand that the last time this plant failed one of it's inspections, it was fined $30.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

RE: Plant explosion

1- U.S. Chemical Safety Board isn't going anywhere.
2- As with most government agencies there are lots of overlapping responsibilities with the USCSB, OSHA, EPA, etc.
3- Many other commercially funded organizations (like SOCMA, ISO) also oversee regulatory compliance as well as advocacy (AKA lobbying).
4- Most chemical manufacturers (or any other industry) don't like to see explosions and other accidents in their facilities for a number of reasons, fines or not.
5- Accidents happen.

Brad Waybright

It's all okay as long as it's okay.

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