Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion: Injuries in West, Texas

An example of a fertilizer plant; this one is near El Centro, CA. Photo by: Charles O'Rear.

Fertilizer plants like this one contain flammable materials – when they explode, the results are dramatic. This plant is located near El Centro, CA. Photo by: Charles O’Rear.

What injuries result from a blast such as that in the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion?

A fertilizer plant in the small town of West, Texas (north of Waco, TX) exploded Wednesday, April 17, 2013 around 8:50 pm Eastern Standard Time. CNN estimates that there are up to 15 people dead and more than 100 injured. Officials say it is unclear how this explosion happened; although they are not ruling out terrorism, authorities are saying it was an accident.

Either way, it will take a while to reach a conclusion about the number of injuries and fatalities. With an explosion that leveled most of the small town, there can be significant injuries that acquire immediate help, there may also be injuries and health concerns in the days to come.

Fertilizer Plant Blast injuries

Texas medical professionals are looking at patients with a variety of injuries due to this explosion. Glenn Robinson, Chief Executive Officer at Hillcrest Hospital in Waco, Texas told CNN that they are seeing patients with blast injuries, orthopedic injuries, and many people with lacerations.

Blast injuries can occur from the blast wave of the explosion which can include ruptured ear drums, intestines, and lungs. Other blast injuries can include lacerations, open fractures, broken bones, amputations, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Until full reports are in, we won’t know which of these severe injuries the Texas residents suffered.

Click to Read Page Two: Anhydrous Ammonia Injuries Possible

© Copyright 2013 Janelle Vaesa, MPH, All rights Reserved. Written For: Decoded Science
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    • E_Marie says

      The same question was asked when we had a propane tanker on fire in our town. The answer was that the propane facility was there first. School district should have taken it into consideration.

    • GNH says

      Pat, the entire town is about 1.5 square miles. But, I definitely see your point. That plant looks like it predates the school. Looking at Google Street view you can see the tops of the fertilizer plant building on the left and the Middle School on the right.


    • congressive says

      Because Texas is incredibly business-friendly and hates government telling profit-taking job-creators where they can locate a small atom bomb. Screw regulations! We don’t need a nanny state telling us we can’t build lethal toxic processing plants next to schools and retirement homes. FREEDOM!

    • says

      It’s called high consequence analysis, a due diligence effort promulgated by the government for industries to follow. The unfortunate thing is it should be conducted not only by industry, but by the planners who approve building locations for schools, assisted living, etc. That said, mitigative efforts could have been put in place by the factory, i.e. fire supressant systems, blast walls, etc. This is what other industries must do when their consequence measures exceed a threshold.

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