Thursday April 18, 2013
The deadly explosion at the fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas serves to remind us of so many potential hazards all around us.
In some communities it could be a refinery, others a fertilizer plant or chemical plant.
For residents of Valley Center it was the Barton Solvent - Barsol - tank farm which exploded and caught fire July 17, 2007.
Investigators discovered static electricity ignited gases in one tank. The resulting explosion blew the tank's top and set off a chain reaction of explosive fires to surrounding tanks.
Valley Center Fire Chief Lonnie Tormey says responding fire crews knew immediately they'd need to call in hazardous materials responders and fire crews from Sedgwick County and neighboring cities.
Chief Tormey says of the fertilizer plant explosion, "I think it always goes through your mind, what if that happened close by here?"
In thinking about the Texas explosion, Valley Center Police Chief Mark Hephner says, "Obviously we've had it happen here and so we know these incidents can happen anywhere."
Chief Hephner also says, "You try to prepare as best you can for these kinds of incidents so when something like that happens you're prepared."