Thursday, October 10, 2013

Labor Department fines West Fertilizer $118,000

West – Adair Seed, operator of the West Fertilizer Company is mentioned in 24 serious safety violations for everything from a lack of fire extinguishers to having no emergency response plan in the explosion and fire that killed 15 and did hundreds of millions in property damage in April.

All 12 first responders and three residents of a rest home located across the street perished in the blast, or soon after, of injuries caused by the massive explosion.

In an announcement, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) detailed violations that will total $118,000 in fines if all are paid. The senator made the announcement because the department is closed due to government shutdown, according to officials.

Complaints allege unsafe handling and storage of two forms of fertilizer, anhydrous ammonia, and ammonium nitrate. The fire and resulting explosion occurred in a storage room where a golf cart had been recharging. According to inspectors and federal investigators, the golf cart was nearest the epicenter of the explosion because pieces of it were found farthest away from the site, in one case more than one mile. According to a report, the cause of the fire is of unknown origin.

There is some indication, however, that there may have been a fire in the building's electrical system.

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