El Dorado Chemical Fire Injuries. Did the fire at the El Dorado Chemical Co. plant near Bryan, Texas affect you or your family? On July 30, 2009, a fire broke out at the Eldorado Chemical Co., forcing the evacuation of virtually the entire city of Bryan, and a large portion of Brazos County.
Dozens of injuries were reported.One of the chemicals used at the El Dorado Chemical Co. plant, which produces fertilizer, was ammonium nitrate. Ammonium nitrate is highly combustible. In addition to producing potentially toxic fumes, the fire threatened to set off a massive ammonium nitrate explosion.
The lives of tens of thousands of people were put at risk because of the El Dorado Chemical Co. plant fire. Our El Dorado Chemical Co. plant fire lawyers are investigating potential lawsuit on behalf of victims of this accident.
We are offering free case evaluations to anyone who was affected by the El Dorado Chemical Co. fire in Bryan, Texas. If you or someone you love suffered from exposure to chemical fumes, or were evacuated because of this accident, we want to hear from you. Please contact one of our El Dorado Chemical Co. plant fire lawyers right away to protect your legal rights.
The El Dorado Chemical Co. Plant Fire
The fire at the El Dorado Chemical Co. plant broke out around noon on July 30. Workers were welding in an empty storage bin when a spark started the fire. Fire crews were forced to let the blaze burn itself out because putting water on the flames would only make it worse.
Fire officials at the scene said the fire produced a plume of smoke that extended up to 60 miles from the plant. At least 34 people were injured as a result of the chemical fire. That included roughly 20 firefighters and other first responders.
According to media reports, St. Joseph Regional Health Center’s emergency room treated 22 people with respiratory ailments or eye irritation possibly related to the fire. An additional 12 people were treated at College Station Medical Center for smoke inhalation.
The fire forced the evacuation of the most of Bryan, a city with a population around 72,000. Residents of Brazos County north of FM 60 were also evacuated. The roads into Bryan were closed.
By 5:00 p.m., the plume of smoke produced by the chemical fire had grown smaller, but officials said the danger was “far from over”. The evacuation order for Bryan was lifted later that evening, but a scaled-back evacuation remained in effect for a small area surrounding the El Dorado Chemical Co. plant. That order affected about 30 homes.
Ammonium Nitrate Hazards
El Dorado Chemical’s Web site describes the facility as a place where customers can stock up on ammonium nitrate fertilizer “by the truckloads” 24 hours a day. Ammonium nitrate can be dangerous and even deadly.
Ammonium nitrate is a salt of ammonia and nitric acid. It is the most common nitrogenous component of artificial fertilizers. It is also used to modify the detonation rate of other explosives, such as nitroglycerin in ammonia dynamites.
Inhalation of ammonium nitrate fumes can cause irritation to the respiratory tract. Symptoms may include coughing, sore throat, and shortness of breath. At high temperatures, exposure to toxic nitrogen oxides decomposition products can quickly cause acute respiratory problems. Inhalation of large amounts causes systemic acidosis and abnormal hemoglobin.
The biggest risk with ammonium nitrate is explosion. Under conditions of heat or pressure, ammonium nitrate can explode. A fire that spreads to ammonium nitrate can detonate such an explosion. Ammonium nitrate was used in the bomb that Timothy McVeigh used to blow up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.