Rescue search operation for the survivors of massive Texas plant blast is still ongoing on Thursday. A huge explosion in a fertilizer factory left more than 15 dead and over 160 severely injured. The fire that ensued burned down the Texas prairie surrounding the utility. Many residential areas as well as businesses were ruined. But the rescue operation for the scarred survivors is in active mode.
This Wednesday, at the West Fertilizer Company, situated a couple of miles north of Waco, Texas the unspeakable happened. The blast shook the ground with the power of an earthquake and could be registered miles away. From all the evidence collected it seems it was an accident.
Among the infrastructure that got damaged were many homes, an apartment block, a school and a nursing home. The fire-lit residue from the explosion rained down on the unfortunate residents of the satellite regions of the plant. Further inroads into the site of the industrial accident were being made by concerned authorities. But they faced serious difficulties in the search for victims.
Among those who lost their lives were several firefighters and a policeman. The injuries ranged from fractures to contusions and skull injuries. Respiratory complications too abounded among those caught in the swathe of the tragedy.
Materials similar in nature to the ones used in the Oklahoma City Bombing back in the mid 90s were being manufactured by the plant. There were rumors that it was an act of terrorism. This was reminiscent of an explosion in France just a few days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It too had at that time provoked fears that the two were somehow linked. But that proved to be wrong.
The Mayor Tommy Muska is reported to have said that “my city of 2,800 people needs your prayers.” There are also several other reports from victims who went through hell due to the accident and didn’t come out unscathed. The next step is to scour the area for evidence as to how and why the accident happened in the first place. This is to prevent it occurring in the future.
The owner of the plant, Donald Adair, is an octogenarian. The President, Ted Uptmore along with the owner survived. Both are busy doing all that lies in their capacity to help heal the damage in human terms. In a kind of repetition of history, the explosion is a reminder of a fire aboard a freight ship that claimed 600 lives back in 1947 in Texas.
The security certification for industrial firms will have to get more stringent. Otherwise such accidents can occur anytime. The human fault cannot be overlooked. As the Boy Scout’s motto goes: “Be Prepared.” In tragedies of the scale of the Texas Blast, care is definitely better than cure.
Image Credit: Reuters