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View Diary: Fertilizer Plant that Exploded Told Emergency Authorities There was No Fire Risk (199 comments)

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  •  Outside of city jurisdiction but next to schools? (6+ / 0-)

    I brought up the Google map of the site and of the City of West itself.  First off, I was surprised that the "plant" was so small.  It sounded like a significant fertilizer manufacturing facility. But it wasn't -- West Fertilizer was basically a distributor.  The tanks were the heart of the company.  The plant is next to a railroad and has its own siding, so rail cars full of anhydrous probably pulled up to it to fill the tanks, while farmers would drive up and buy it. So the plant was sited to be near both rail and road, but of course it didn't have to be at that particular spot.

    Another curiosity is that the city limits, as shown by Google, appear to exclude most of the plant itself.  One small tank appears to be inside the city; the rest is outside.  The city lines appear to be very carefully crafted to include and exclude various tracts; the middle school, just southwest of the plant (the city side) is inside, while the high school (just southeast of the plant) is outside. By being outside of the city limits, the plant probably only had to deal with county, rather than city, zoning or regulators.  This does not appear to be accidental, either.  Jerry Mashek Drive is for the most part the city's eastern boundary.  The plant is on the west side of the street. The city limit takes a jog westward to avoid the plant.

    •  Apparently it was built to store grain in the 50's (3+ / 0-)

      and was likely outside the city limits, if any were established at at that time. The city limits may have been later drawn around the plant.  Most grain elevators were built adjacent to the railroad.  The whole town was settled by farmers there after the railroad was built in the late 1800's.  My hometown did the same.

      Per the WSJ:

      The fertilizer plant was formerly known as West Chemical & Fertilizer and was also known as Texas Grain Storage Inc., according to a 2007 federal court filing. It was started by the Plasek family in 1957 as a grain-storage business.

      In 1960, Texas Grain Storage added a small fertilizer blend plant for farmers in the area and started selling fertilizer and grain-storage services for other farmers in Texas, the company said in the court filing.

      http://online.wsj.com/...

      The truth always matters.

      by texasmom on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 08:55:15 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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