Texas fertilizer plant fire turns out OK

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Because of the West, Texas, fire and explosion, a fire at a fertilizer plant in the town of Athens, Texas, made news in Texas, but it was not seen as anything more than another common fire like what occurs everywhere, every day across the nation by most national media.

A five-block radius of the downtown area of the town of about 13,000 was evacuated last Thursday evening during a fire that ultimately destroyed a fertilizer plant in Athens. The blaze first began at around 5:45 p.m., according to reports. Up to 300 residents who live near the fire stayed in shelters and hotels for the night.

The building in Athens was owned by East Texas AG Service. Their facility just received a 70-ton shipment of ammonium nitrate, according to CBSDFW.com, the same material that ignited and exploded at the West fertilizer facility in April of last year,

Emergency officials in Athens were immediately concerned about the possibility of an explosion. “We were scared. We didn’t know what was going to happen,” according to the mayor, Jerry Don Vaught, of the town of about 13,000 people.

There was no loss of life or injuries reported because of the fire in the town that is located about 70 miles southeast of Dallas. Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency conducted air quality tests and found nothing toxic in the atmosphere. The fire sent plumes of smoke high into the sky. Flames reportedly reached about 60 feet into the air, according to CBSDFW.com.

When emergency crews arrived at the fertilizer storage facility, the building was fully engulfed in flames. First responders made the decision to back off and take a defensive posture, allowing the fire to burn out on its own. Fire officials on Friday morning tore down what remained and doused the facility with heavy amounts of water.  

The Texas State Chemist’s office inspected East Texas AG Service last year and found no violations. The company is believed to be up to date on its chemical registrations. A State Chemist’s office official provided a statement that the facility was inspected with great care and attention to possible deficiencies based on what had occurred at the West fire and explosion.

The operator of the fertilizer warehouse left the facility about 35 minutes before fire crews found the building engulfed in flames, again according to CBSDFW.com. In tyical fashion for a fire of unknown origin, the fire scene is being treated as a crime scene and an investigation is proceeding to see how the fire started.

When asked Friday if the fertilizer plant should not be located in the center of town, Mayor Vaught was quoted as saying, “We’ll have to determine. I felt like it has been safe for many years. It has been over 50 years that it was there and it has always been a safe situation, until what happened in West.”

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (0) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Demco 1400 Grain Cart

Demco offers a 1400 bushel grain cart to provide unmatched efficiency and operator convenience. In addition to the large 1400 ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form