Fertilizer Plant | KERA News

Fertilizer Plant

A chemical plant just northeast of Houston is at risk of explosion following the failure of refrigeration equipment that is needed to cool the volatile compounds produced there.

The CEO of Arkema Inc., Rich Rowe, said Wednesday that the Crosby, Texas, facility is flooded by 6 feet of water and that both primary and backup power have failed. Without cooling systems, the risk of fire and explosion grows ever more serious. "The high water and lack of power leave us with no way to prevent it," Rowe said.

Jerry Larson / Waco Tribune Herald, Pool

Fire Chief George Nors in the small town of West is ecstatic that the Federal  Emergency Management Agency has reversed its decision on disaster funding. 

Courtney Collins / KERA News

Reporter Courtney Collins expected just another grueling disaster scene when she left Dallas before dawn Thursday. But that's not what she found. Here's a reporter's view of West, and the people who fuel its beating heart.

Courtney Collins / KERA News

One of the most dramatic scenes from Wednesday night’s fertilizer plant explosion was the damage to a nursing home called West Rest Haven, just a couple of streets over from the plant.

Courtney Collins has more on the heroic actions of quick thinking employees.

The FAQ On Fertilizer

Apr 18, 2013

The Washington Post's WonkBlog has a standout look at the fertilizer business. One choice tidbit: The U.S. imports far more fertilizer ($13 billion worth) than it exports ($4.5 billion). And the biggest suppliers? Canada, Russia, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Update, 12:15 a.m.: "An unbelievable tragedy" -- that's how D.L. Wilson of the Department of Public Safety described Wednesday night's fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas. Speaking to the media just after midnight, he added that he'd toured the blast zone, and it looked "just like Iraq, just like the Murrah building in Oklahoma City," which was bombed 18 years ago this week.

Wilson said more than 100 were injured, and he confirmed that people have died, though he gave no number.