2,300 tons of ammonium nitrate on board a ship docked in the port of Texas City detonate, setting of a chain reaction of explosions and fires on other ships and nearby oil storage facilities. At least 581 people were killed and thousands more were seriously injured in the deadliest industrial disaster in United States history.
As a result of the Texas City Disaster, quality control officials implemented new standards for the transportation and dispersal of ammonium nitrate. In addition to cool temperatures, new regulations required specialized containers for storage and prohibited ammonium nitrate from being stored near other reactive materials. Travel over long distances was discouraged and overseas transfer of the substance was highly restricted.
The Texas City Disaster also influenced attitudes toward disaster planning across the country. It was obvious that there was a need for a more pro-active approach to disaster planning. Many also noted that a centrally-coordinated emergency response effort might have been beneficial in the early hours of the disaster.
Cassie Lee is an Account Manager and Business Development Professional with over a decade of experience in environmental consulting. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-983-1719 with any questions or for assistance on developing an emergency action plan or your IATA, DOT and RCRA Training needs.