West Texas Explosion

April 17, 2013


On April 17, 2013, a fertilizer plant caught on fire. This plant had 270 tons of ammonia nitrate, a highly explosive and toxic chemical. Volunteer firefighters soon surrounded the area to battle the blaze. 20 minutes later (8:00 PM), the plant exploded. The blast was recorded as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake and the blast was felt 50 miles away. The explosion killed at least 35 people, but the death toll is expected to expand to over 90. The damage extended 5 blocks, destroying 50-60 houses, a school, and a nursing home.
Fertilizer Plant Explosion - All 3 Angles
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Texas City Disaster 1947

In Texas City, TX, a French ship containing 2300 tons of Ammonia Nitrate caught fire. Despite firefighter's best efforts, the fire couldn't be controlled. An hour after the fire, the ship exploded. The blast killed at least 500 people, injured a further 2000, destroyed a third of the city, knocked 2 airplanes out of the sky, and caused 1.03 billion dollars in today's money in damage

Long Term Impacts

Some long term impacts that could occur are the contamination of the groundwater and the forest. The explosion caused the groundwater to be contaminated and that would be something that would cause many of the animals and plants to die to the hazardous chemicals in their once pristine waters. Another impact that could occur is that the forest could be inhospitable to many animals that once call it their home. The trees would start to catch on fire, or die from the chemicals. Animals would lose their homes or they would die.

Food & Water

Not much has been said about FEMA aid so far, all that is known is that an aid package has been approved and is going to be sent to West, TX.


Many pounds of fertilizer caught on fire and caused a chemical reaction to make the plant explode. Fertilizer is a combustible substance that can easily catch on fire and when it is burnt in large amounts it can be devastating.

Ecosystem (Abiotic Factors Affected)

The air is polluted with the chemicals burning in the air and the water is being polluted by the debris being put into the water. The groundwater is being polluted by the fertilizer chemicals and the air is being polluted with smoke and cancer creating pollutants.

Ecosystem (Biotic Factors Affected)

The ecosystem was affected when the explosion of the chemicals caused the groundwater to be contaminated. That contaminated the surface water and in turn, that contaminated the animals and plants in the vicinity. The explosion caused many trees in the area to catch on fire and caused many animals to abandon their homes, or die.

The Effects on Humans

At least 35 people’s lives were violently terminated in this violent explosion at West, TX. The death toll could rise up to 90. 200 people were injured in the explosion and 60 people are reported missing.