When Fertilizers Explode Some Precedents

When Fertilizers Explode: Some Precedents

April 18, 2013
Historically, the explosion at the Texas fertilizer plant is one in a line of industrial accidents linked to chemical fertilizers. 

PARIS -- Below are previous deadly accidents linked to highly-explosive chemical fertilizers, after the blast in Texas on Wednesday which, according to a provisional toll, left between five and 15 people dead:

- April 16, 1947 - TEXAS CITY: In what is considered the deadliest industrial accident in U.S. history, a fire on board a French-registered cargo vessel detonates approximately 2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate and the resulting chain reaction of fires and explosions kills at least 581 people.

- July 28, 1947 - BREST, France: The Norwegian cargo ship Ocean Liberty explodes in the French port of Brest. The cargo consists of around 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate. The explosion kills around 30 people, injures thousands and seriously damages buildings in the town.

- Jan. 8, 1998 - XINPING, China: 24 workers are killed and around 60 seriously injured in an explosion in a chemical fertilizer factory in the northern province of Shaanxi.

- Sept. 20, 1999 - CHIANG MAI, Thailand: 35 people are killed in northern Thailand when a devastating blast in a fruit factory erupts when potassium chlorate used as a fertilizer ignites.

- Sept. 21, 2001 - TOULOUSE, France: A stock of ammonium nitrate at an AZF petrochemical plant explodes killing 31 people, injuring 2,500 others and devastating thousands of homes. In 2012, the owner of the factory, Grande Paroisse, is condemned by the French justice system for "involuntary homicide."

- April 24, 2004 - RYONGCHON, North Korea: 161 are killed and 1,300 injured in the railway station in the western town of Ryongchon when a train transporting oil and wagons carrying ammonium nitrate collide, and a series of deadly explosions ensues.

- May 28, 2004 - MIHAILESTI, Romania: A total of 18 people are killed and 13 others injured when a nitrogen-based fertilizer truck explodes in eastern Romania.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013

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