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Yale-Tulane ESF-8 MOC Special Report - West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion - 19 April 2013


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In light of the events in West, Texas, the Yale-Tulane ESF #8 Planning and Response Program has produced a special report on West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion. The Yale-Tulane ESF #8 Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-center, graduate-level, program designed to produce ESF #8 planners and responders with standardized skill sets that are consistent with evolving public policy, technologies, and best practices. The group that produced this summary and analysis of the current situation are graduate students from Yale and Tulane Universities.
It was compiled entirely from open source materials.

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Yale-Tulane ESF-8 MOC Special Report - West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion - 19 April 2013

  2. 2. SITUATIONWHERE: West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West,McLennan County, TexasWHEN 7:50 p.m. CDT (00:50 UTC, April 18)SITUATION: MAJOR EXPLOSION• A major explosion at the West Fertilizer Company storage and distributionfacility• The fire at the plant is contained; however, significant damage wasreported to structures within several blocks of the plant, including a middleschool, nursing home, numerous residences, and businesses‐ 50 building have been destroyed‐ 50 buildings significantly damaged,‐ 100 slightly damaged‐ An Apartment complex destroyed• Due to health and safety concerns, evacuation of a significant portion of thecommunity was conducted• An inner and outer perimeter has been established around the site of theincident.• An Incident Command Post (ICP) and staging area, triage area wereestablished• 175 building have been searched and cleared.• The fertilizer facility had at least 540,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate,Texas Health Department records show. Anhydrous ammonia, and ureawere also on site. State environmental authorities are monitoring airquality near the incident site. No immediate health concerns have beennoted. FEMA DAILY BRIEF 18 APRIL 2013FEMA DAILY BRIEF 19 APRIL 2013DALLAS MORNING NEWS• The U.S. Geological Survey registered the blast as a 2.1-magnitudeseismic event• At least three rescue trucks and one fire truck were also destroyedTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 3 041913 .PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 4.PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 1 041813.PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 2 041813.PDF
  3. 3. SITUATIONINJURED: The explosion also left more than 200 injured.Most of the injured victims were treated and then released, but someremain hospitalized on Friday, 19 April 2013DEAD: 14, Among the dead were 5 West Firefighters, 4 EMS Medics, 1Off Duty Fire Captain from Dallas (who was in town at the time and wasassisting) and 1 unconfirmed (unknown agency at this point) Firefighterhave been killed in the Line of DutyINVESTIGATION: On going• Waco Police indicated that the explosion site would be treated as acrime scene out of caution.• National Response Team of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearmsand Explosives, along with ATF special agents from the Houston FieldDivision, has been activated to join the investigation of the WestFertilizer Plant fire.ELECTRIC: Oncor electric facilities were impacted by theexplosion. Some customers are unable to receive powerbecause structural damage has made power restorationhazardous in some locationsThere will be no gas or electric service for the blast area untilSAR and initial recovery action is completed.WATER:• Damage to the Public Water System main delivery line wasidentified, which resulted in low water pressure of a sectionof the delivery system.• A BOIL WATER NOTICE IS IN PLACE.• Cottonwood Water Supply provided water to the fertilizerplant and received damage close to the impacted area.Cottonwood Water Supply isolated the damaged area andhas restored adequate pressure To the rest of the system.Hilltop WSC is also in the area, but sustained no damage.FEMA DAILY BRIEF 18 APRIL 2013FEMA DAILY BRIEF 19 APRIL 2013DALLAS MORNING NEWSTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 3 041913 .PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 4.PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 1 041813.PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 2 041813.PDFFirefighters conduct search and rescue of an apartment destroyed by an explosion ata fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Thursday, April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero.)
  5. 5. RESPONSELOCALSTATE• Local fire and EMS responded to the fire at the West FertilizerCompany in West, TX.• Mutual aid agencies from surrounding jurisdictions responded quickly• Waco Police indicated that the explosion site would be treated as acrime scene out of caution.• The City of West has declared a state of disaster. Area Command atthe McLennan County EOC was activated at 1900hrs on 04/17/2013with a mobile incident command post (ICP) on scene. Staging andtriage areas were originally established at the City of West, HighSchool but were relocated due to the proximity of the evacuationzone and potential additional safety concerns from the plant.• Governor Perry declared McLennan County a disaster area and on April18, an emergency declaration was “forthcoming” from President Obama.• Texas Department of Public Safety is responding to West, along with theTexas Division of Emergency Management, the Department of StateHealth Services, and the Texas Department of Transportation. Mobilemedical units have also been sent to the scene,• The Texas National Guard sent members of the 6th Civil Support Team tothe area to test the air quality and assess chemical and biological hazards• State Fire Marshal Office part of the investigation team• Search and Rescue Texas Task Force 1 &2 was deployed on themorning of April 18 to assist in search and rescue which came to aclose on 19 February 2013.• An Incident Management Team from the Texas A&M Forest Servicewas also deployed.• Veterinary Emergency Team from Texas A&M College of VeterinaryMedicine & Biomedical Science• Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) providing airmonitoring and technical assistance• Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System have deployed North Texasfire departments to West to provide assistance
  6. 6. RESPONSEFEDERAL• The National Response Team (NRT) of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,Firearms and Explosives (ATF) along with ATF special agents from theHouston Field Division were activated Wednesday to join theinvestigation of the West Fertilizer Plant fire and explosion in West,Texas.• The national response team including fire investigators,explosive experts, chemists, and canine units to investigatethe site.• The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, anindependent federal agency that investigates accidents involvingindustrial chemicals, also dispatched a major investigation team toWest to begin searching for the cause of the disaster.• The EPA deployed a team to monitor air quality in the vicinity of theexplosion and fire.• Region VI RRCC transitioned to Level III• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sentcompliance officers, and "is working jointly with the EnvironmentalProtection Agency and the Chemical Safety Board to try to determinethe cause of the explosion, if any violations of health and safetystandards occurred, and lessons learned• HHS DMORT assessment team was deployed.SOURCE: ATF News Release 18 APRIL 2013CSB News Release, 18 APRIL 2013USA Today 18 April 2013
  7. 7. ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING• TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (TCEQ):• TCEQ first arrived on-site at 9:37 p.m., Wednesday evening. TheTCEQ Mobile Command Post arrived at 4:00 a.m., Thursdaymorning and is located a ½ mile from the blast site in West. It wasup and running at 5:00 a.m• 12 Area RAE monitors have been set up around perimeter tomonitor the air at distances ranging from a half-mile to a quarter-mile.• On 18 April, at first light an entry team of TCEQ EmergencyResponse Contractors, 6th Civil Support Team, and EPAContractors began to characterize the site to determine currentfacility emissions within the exclusion zone. TCEQ is activelymonitoring air quality to assess any immediate health effects orthreats.• TCEQ continues to monitor air quality around the perimeter of theWest Fertilizer Plant.TX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 3 041913 .PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 4.PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 1 041813.PDFTX FERTILIZER PLANT EXPLOSION SITREP 2 041813.PDF• At this time no ammonia is being detected in the air outsidethe plant footprint. A TCEQ contractor secured a leak whichhad developed in one of the 12,000 gallon anhydrous ammoniatanks so that recovery efforts could continue.• Ammonium nitrate pellets on the ground are being coveredwith a tarp to prevent vaporization and the formation of anyadditional ammonia vapors. Air monitoring is being conductedto verify the effectiveness of these measures.• TCEQ is coordinating its efforts with the ATF and the State FireMarshallTCEQ – Emergency Response
  8. 8. HEALTH AND MEDICALTEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES (DSHS):• The DSHS State Medical Operations Center (SMOC) has beenactivated. DSHS has deployed a Texas Funeral Director Association(TFDA) Strike Team with two Mortuary Trailers.• One portable morgue unit was staged in Waco, and is expected tobe deactivated.• Two Medical Incident Support Team (MIST) team members and aRapid Assessment Team (RAT) have also been activated.• DSHS reports that there is one long term care facility that hasclosed in the impact zone, the residents have been transferred toother local assisted living facilities.‐ A nursing home, West Rest Haven, was in the blast’s radius andwas severely damaged and had to be evacuated. All 133residents were safely evacuated• Disaster Behavior Health Services deployed one staff member fromCommunity Mental Health and Substance Abuse.SOURCE: DALLAS MORNING NEWSTDEM STATE SITREP - 19 APR 2013Elderly residents of a heavily damaged nursing home receivedattention at a triage site after the explosion. (MichaelAinsworth/Staff Photographer)SOUTHWEST TEXAS REGIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL (STRAC): issupporting MIST personnel with patient tracking, using TexasEmergency Tracking Network (TxETN) resources. STRAC is also workingto support WebEOC operations, and to provide support with STARrequests.HEART OF TEXAS REGIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL (HOTRAC):is working to input patient location and information into the ENTboard, and working with MIST personnel for patient tracking. Inaddition, HOTRAC is monitoring the status of hospital bedoccupancy in the region
  9. 9. HOSPITALIZATION AND TREATMENTHOSPITAL*NUMBERTREATEDRELEASEDNUMBERADMITTEDDISCHARGEDCURRENTNUMBERADMITTEDHillcrest BaptistMedical Center101 66 35 14 21ProvidenceHealth Center69 51 18 5 13Scott & White 3 3 3McLaneChildrensHospital2 2 2Hill RegionalHospital42 39 + (3transferred)Methodist Dallas 1 1 1Children’s Dallas 1 1 1JPS Ft. Worth 3 3 3Parkland BurnCenter2 2 2Baylor MedicalCenterWaxahachie3 3 3TOTALS 227 156 68 19 49SOURCES:TDEM STATE SITREP - 19 APR 2013A victim from the West fertilizer plant explosion iswheeled into Hillcrest Baptist Medical Hospital in Waco,Texas on April 17, 2013. (Jerry Larson/Waco TribuneHerald/AP Photo)Areas Hospitals: Multiple area hospitals providedemergency medical care to injured residents.
  10. 10. PROPANE• If a home propane tank is damaged and leaking, call 9-1-1 and thepropane service provider.• Do not transport leaking propane tanks in a car or dispose of them inthe trash.PRECAUTION GUIDANCE FOR WEST DISASTER RECOVERYThe Texas Department of State Health Services offers guidance to people who may be returning home to begin the recovery processfollowing the West explosion disaster. State and local health officials urge extreme caution to people cleaning up debris and inspectingdamage caused by the explosion.TETANUS SHOTS AND MASKSTetanus shots and N-95 masks will be made available by the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District. For information, people can callthe local family assistance center at (254) 826-4113DAMAGED STRUCTURES AND DEBRIS• Use extreme caution when entering damaged structures. Wear sturdyshoes or boots, long sleeves and gloves when cleaning up.• If your home is damaged, be sure the electricity and gas are shut offbefore entering. Get a tetanus shot if you have not had a booster in 10years or can’t remember when your last shot was, and be careful.• Broken glass, exposed wires, nails, wood, metal, plastic and otherdebris can cause puncture wounds, cuts and burns.• Using chain saws and power tools improperly can cause severe injuries.ASH• Adults should use a protective respirator mask (N-95 or P-100) whilecleaning up areas in which ash particles cannot be controlled.• Ash and dust from burned buildings may contain toxic and cancercausing chemicals including asbestos, arsenic and lead.• Children should not be in the area while cleanup is in progress.ELECTRICITYAvoid downed or damaged electrical lines. Electrical repairs should bedone by a qualified technician.WATERCheck with the water provider to be sure that water is safe to drink becausewater pressure may have been lost. Water from a damaged water systemor well may require disinfection by boiling for one minute or stirring in 1/8teaspoon of unscented bleach per gallon and letting it sit for 30 minutes.CARBON MONOXIDEPlace generators, power washers and other fuel burning devices at least 20feet away from the house and away from open doors and windows to avoidcarbon monoxide poisoning.NATURAL GASDo not enter an area or building where you smell gas. Do not turn on thelights or light a match. Leave the area immediately, then call 9-1-1.FOOD• Discard food that may have spoiled, thawed or come into contactwith hazardous materials like fire retardant or ash.• Loss of power to refrigeration and freezer units can cause food tospoil.• If you’re not certain food is safe, throw it out.
  11. 11. COMMON REACTIONS TO A STRESSFUL EVENT INCLUDE:• Physical or emotional tension are often signs of stress. They can bereactions to a situation that causes you to feel threatened or anxious.Stress can be positive (such as planning your wedding) or negative (suchas dealing with the effects of a natural disaster).• Disbelief and shock• Tension and irritability• Fear and anxiety about the future• Difficulty making decisions• Being numb to one’s feelings• Loss of interest in normal activities• Loss of appetite• Nightmares and recurring thoughts about the event• Anger• Increased use of alcohol and drugs• Sadness and other symptoms of depression• Feeling powerless• Crying• Sleep problems• Headaches, back pains, and stomach problems• Trouble concentratingTHE BEST WAYS TO MANAGE STRESS IN HARD TIMES• Take breaks from cleanup efforts and don’t overdo it.• Avoid drugs and alcohol. They may seem to be a temporary fix to feel better,but in the long run they can create more problems and add to your stress—instead of take it away.• Find support. Seek help from a partner, family member, friend, counselor,doctor, or clergyperson. Having a sympathetic, listening ear and sharing aboutyour problems and stress really can lighten the burden. Keep a journal.• Connect socially. After a stressful event, it is easy isolate yourself. Make surethat you are spending time with loved ones. Consider planning fun activitieswith your partner, children, or friends.• Take care of yourself.‒ Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet‒ Exercise regularly‒ Get plenty of sleep‒ Give yourself a break if you feel stressed out—for example, treatyourself to a therapeutic massage‒ Maintain a normal routine• Stay active. You can take your mind off your problems by giving— helping aneighbor, volunteering in the community, even taking the dog on a long walk.These can be positive ways to channel your feelings.Stress is a condition that is often characterized by symptoms of physical or emotional tension. It is a reaction to a situation where aperson feels threatened or anxious. Stress can be positive (e.g., preparing for a wedding) or negative (e.g., dealing with a naturaldisaster).SYMPTOMS OF STRESSFor behavioral health assistance or additionalinformation, dial 2-1-1.
  12. 12. DONATIONSThe outpouring of support for residents affected by the fertilizer plantexplosion in West has been nothing short of amazing. Donated goodshave been pouring in from all over.But the Central Texas Red Cross chapter has said that the city of West hasreceived so much stuff that it is asking that further donations be put onhold for now.Still, there are ways you can help.• The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army DFW MetroplexCommand are both collecting monetary donations.• The National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established a fund formonetary donations for the survivors and coworkers of the fire andEMS personnel who died in the line of duty. Mail checks to NFFF c/oWest, Texas Fire and EMS Fallen Hero Fund, P.O. Drawer 498,Emmitsburg, Maryland, 21727. They also will facilitate messages todonate apparatus, equipment and turn-out gear. Send a messagethrough• A victims’ fund has been set up at Pointwest Bank. Checks can bemailed to the bank at 200 W. Oak, West, 76691 or P.O. Box 279, West,76691. Call 254-826-5333• Brazos Valley Media Giving Back is accepting donations at Bank andTrust locations. Make the check to “BV Media Giving Back” with “Westplant explosion” in the memo line.• Mail to or drop off at 2900 S. Texas Ave., Bryan; 3400 Highway 21East, Bryan; 4450 State Highway 6 South, College Station; or 2305Texas Ave. South, College Station.• Texas Rangers and Carter BloodCare will hold a Blood Drive from 11a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday in the Hall of Fame, located on the concoursebehind the Lower Home Run Porch.• You can also donate blood through the American Red Cross orschedule an appointment to donate at Carter Blood Care. In Waco,the Scott & White Blood and Donation Center is taking blooddonations.SOURCE: DALLAS NEWSAMERICAN RED CROSS