Previous disasters linked to the chemical have led to improved regulations for its safe storage, Associate Professor Stewart Walker, from the school of Forensic, Environmental and Analytical Chemistry at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, told CNN said; such rules mean it tends to be kept away from population centers. At 9:12 a.m., the ammonium nitrate reached an explosive threshold from the combination of heat and pressure. Fifteen people were killed in that explosion. Tuesday’s massive explosion, which rocked the capital, left at least 135 dead and 5,000 injured. Twelve first responders were among those killed. The resulting fire caused an explosion and additional fires that damaged more than 1,000 buildings and killed more than 500 people, according to the website of the Texas Historical Association. “We were asked to fix a door of the warehouse by State Security and we did that at noon, but what occurred in the afternoon I have no idea,” he said. At points, he even offered to sell the dangerous cargo to the Lebanese army, according to the court documents, but to no avail. The more recent Texas explosion of ammonium nitrate was in West, Texas in April of 2013. Lebanon’s general security chief also said a “highly explosive material” had been confiscated years earlier and stored in the warehouse, which is just a few minutes’ walk from Beirut’s shopping and nightlife districts. Nichols is serving a life sentence. ammonium nitrate explosion texas 1947: west texas ammonium nitrate explosion: texas city ammonium nitrate explosion: beirut ammonium nitrate explosion: ammonium nitrate explosion in texas: ammonium nitrate explosion in arkansas: galveston ammonium nitrate explosion: ammonium nitrate explosion equation A giant explosion occurs during the loading of fertilizer onto the freighter Grandcamp at a pier in Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947. That explosion was the result of an arson fire at the West Fertilizer Company. “Poorly stored ammonium nitrate is notorious for explosions — for example in Oppau, Germany; in Galveston Bay, Texas; and more recently in West, Texas; and Tianjin in China,” Andrea Sella, Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at University College London, told the Science Media Centre. The explosion killed 168 people, including several children. As the investigation in Lebanon continues, officials have pointed to a possible cause: A massive shipment of fertilizer that authorities say was stored in the port of Beirut without safety precautions for years — despite warnings by local officials. By Meghan Housewright With the horrific explosion in Beirut, Lebanonon August 4, it is an apt time to revisit the U.S. Chemical Safety Board's (CSB) reporton the 2013 ammonium nitrate (AN) detonation that devastated West, Texas, killing 15 people, and injuring 260 others. TEXAS CITY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – The explosion in Beirut that created a huge mushroom cloud and registered as a magnitude 3.3 earthquake is being compared to two agricultural fertilizer explosions in Texas. It's used to make explosive, matches, fertilizers and antibiotics. You can learn more about the Oklahoma City bombing here. On Wednesday, Lebanese Information Minister Manal Abdel Samad Najd said there are papers and documents dating back to 2014 proving the existence of an exchange of information about the “material” confiscated by Lebanese authorities. That’s when the ship’s owner told the Russian and Ukrainian sailors that he had run out of money and they would have to pick up additional cargo to cover the travel costs — which led them on a detour to Beirut. Longshoremen had spent five days loading sacks of ammonium nitrate onto a ship. “In our memos 19320/2014 dated 5/12/2014 and 5/6/2015 […] we requested that your honor order the responsible Port Authorities to re-export Ammonium Nitrate that was taken off the Rhosus ship and placed in Customs hangar number 12 in Beirut port,” Daher wrote in 2017. Documents newly reviewed by CNN reveal that a shipment of 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate arrived in Beirut on a Russian-owned vessel in 2013. The devastation surrounding the port resembled other ammonium nitrate explosions, such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and a 1947 ship explosion that struck Texas City, Texas. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, ammonium nitrate is an odorless, colorless white to gray crystalline flake, bead or granule. “Both of these things will be questioned in the investigation into the Beirut explosion, because they had such a large amount of ammonium nitrate, which may not have been stored appropriately, and in an area where there is a large number of people,” he added. The vessel was owned by a company called Teto Shipping which members of the crew said was owned by Igor Grechushkin, a Khabarovsk businessman who resided in Cyprus. The ship, named the MV Rhosus, was destined for Mozambique — but stopped in Beirut due to financial difficulties that also created unrest with the ship’s Russian and Ukrainian crew. The most notorious confirmed ammonium nitrate explosion prior to Tuesday was the 1947 Texas City Disaster. 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On April 17, 2013, an ammonium nitrate explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Company storage and distribution facility in West, Texas, eighteen miles (29 km) north of Waco, while emergency services personnel were responding to a fire at the facility. CNN made several unsuccessful attempts to reach Grechushkin on a Cyprus telephone number. A Pictorial History of Texas City Explosion 1947. A ship in the harbor of Texas City, Texas, … Here's a look back at the Texas City explosion. (credit: Daniel Carde/Getty Images). Texas City explosion of 1947 In April of 1947, an ammonium nitrate explosion in Texas City killed 581 people and injured thousands more. The explosion occurred less than 20 minutes after the emergency responders arrived on-scene. “Customs and State Security sent letters [to the authorities] asking to remove or re-export the explosive materials six years ago, and we have been waiting since then for this issue to be resolved, but to no avail,” Kraytem said. The blast set off a chain of fires as well as a 15-foot (4.5-metre) tidal wave. Fireballs shot into the sky that were visible across Galveston Bay. “According to our information, the Russian crew was later repatriated to their homeland… the salaries were not paid,” the union told CNN. Another 260 people were injured and hundreds of homes damaged. Daher confirmed to CNN earlier on Wednesday that his office sent “a total of six letters to the legal authorities” but that the authorities never responded to any of their letters. The scale of the damage — from the epicenter of the explosion at the port of Beirut to the windows blown out miles away — resembles other blasts involving ammonium nitrate, which is commonly used as an agricultural fertilizer. It led to a 15-foot wave that crashed over the dock and flooded surrounding streets. “The Port Authority should not have allowed the ship to offload the chemicals into the port,” he said. In 1921, about 4,500 tonnes of ammonium nitrate caused an explosion at a plant in Oppau, Germany, killing more than 500 people; The deadliest … The explosion in Beirut Tuesday killed more than 100 people. The idea that such a quantity would have been left unattended for six years beggars belief and was an accident waiting to happen.”. An explosion of ammonium nitrate was responsible for the worst industrial accident in US history in 1947. The Moldovan-flagged ship stopped in Greece to refuel. Lebanese authorities have not named the MV Rhosus as the source of the substance that ultimately exploded in Beirut on Tuesday, but Prime Minister Hassan Diab said the devastating blast was caused by 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. What are the best last-minute options for Christmas shopping? 8 1/2 x 11. On the morning of April 16, the French-owned Grandcamp was preparing to finish loading a consignment of ammonium nitrate fertilizer at … That report, published in 2016, identified the regulatory gaps and system weaknesses that had allowed a major hazard to go … Ammonium nitrate has been implicated in deadly industrial explosions in the past, and is known to require careful handling. With the horrific explosion in Beirut, Lebanon on August 4, it is an apt time to revisit the U.S. Chemical Safety Board’s (CSB) report on the 2013 ammonium nitrate (AN) detonation that devastated West, Texas, killing 15 people, and injuring 260 others. The Grandcamp explosion destroyed the Monsanto Chemical Companyplant and resulted in ignition of refineries and chemical tan… The more ammonium nitrate, or … Perhaps the closest comparison to Beirut’s explosion, in terms of scale, is a blast in Texas City in 1947, which was caused by 2,300 US tons (about 2,087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate. According to emails exchanged by Prokoshev and a Beirut-based lawyer Charbel Dagher, who represented the crew in Lebanon, the ammonium nitrate was unloaded in Beirut’s port by November 2014 and stored in a hangar. Maintenance was conducted on the warehouse door just hours before the blast on Tuesday, he added. Two of those explosions happened in Texas, including one here in the Houston area. In 2014, Mikhail Voytenko, who runs an online publication tracking maritime activity, described the ship as a “floating bomb.”. ©2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. HOUSTON — Tuesday’s deadly explosion in Beirut is being blamed on fireworks and ammonium nitrate. But public court documents CNN obtained through the prominent Lebanese human rights activist, Wadih Al-Asmar, reveal that Daher and his predecessor, Merhi, turned to Beirut’s courts to help dispose of the dangerous goods multiple times from 2014 onwards. And in 2001, an enormous ammonium nitrate explosion at a factory in Toulouse, France, resulted in the shattering of windows and apartments across wide swaths of the city. It was carrying 2,750 metric tons of ammonium nitrate, an industrial chemical commonly used around the world as a fertilizer — and in explosives for mining. Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were both convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing. Between 400 and 600 people were killed, with as many as 4,000 injured. Fifteen people were killed, more than 160 were injured, and more than 150 buildings were damaged or destroyed. It was then kept in that hangar for six years, despite repeated warnings from the Director of Lebanese Customs, Badri Daher, of the “extreme danger” that the cargo posed. On May 11, 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explo… ), By viewing our video content, you are accepting the terms of our. Ammonium nitrate was also the cause of the massive explosion that killed more than 500 people in Texas City in 1947, and 15 people in an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas … He added that the substance had been stored for six years at the port warehouse without safety measures, “endangering the safety of citizens.”, Destroyed buildings are visible a day after a massive explosion occurred at the port on Aug. 5, 2020 in Beirut, Lebanon. “At the time, on board of the dry cargo ship there were particularly dangerous goods — ammonium nitrate, which the port authorities of Beirut did not allow to unload or transfer to another ship,” it added. (© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. Once in Beirut, the MV Rhosus was detained by local port authorities due to “gross violations in operating a vessel,” unpaid fees to the port, and complaints filed by the Russian and Ukrainian crew , according to the Seafarers’ Union of Russia (affiliated with the International Transport Workers’ Federation, or ITF), which represented the Russian sailors, told CNN. “Due to the extreme danger posed by this stored items in unsuitable climate conditions, we reiterate our request to the Port Authorities to re-export the goods immediately to maintain the safety of the port and those working in it,” Daher’s predecessor, Chafic Merhi, wrote in a 2016 letter addressed to a judge involved in the case. Investigators confirmed that ammonium nitrate was the material that exploded. Once it arrived, the ship never left Beirut’s port, according Lebanon’s Director of Customs, Badri Daher, despite repeated warnings by him and others that the cargo was the equivalent of “a floating bomb.”. The vessel detonated, causing great destruction and damage throughout the port. She told Jordan’s state-owned channel Al Mamlaka that the exchange is being considered in relation to the potential cause of the deadly Beirut blast. Notifications can be turned off anytime in the browser settings. “This is a catastrophic regulatory failure because regulations on the storage of ammonium nitrate are typically very clear. Explosions in Texas City, West, Texas and Oklahoma City were caused by ammonium nitrate -- the same product believed to have blown up in Beirut Tuesday. It also is unclear what conditions a possible shipment of fireworks at the port had been stored in. Images of America-West-Texas City Explosion-1947-Ammonium Nitrate-PHOTOS-X-RARE! In 2013, the MV Rhosus set off from Batumi, Georgia, destined for Mozambique, according to the vessel’s path and the account of its captain Boris Prokoshev. Perhaps the closest comparison to Beirut's explosion, in terms of scale, is a blast in Texas City in 1947, which was caused by 2,300 US tons (about 2,087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate. We knew that they were dangerous materials, but not to that extent.”, Kraytem too said that the issue of removing the explosive material had been brought up by State Security and Customs — but that the issue had not been “resolved.”. The tremendous blast produced a 15-foot (4.5 m) wave that was detectable nearly 100 miles (160 km) from the Texas shoreline. More than 100 people were killed and thousands more injured in the massive blast. "Poorly stored ammonium nitrate is notorious for explosions -- for example in Oppau, Germany; in Galveston Bay, Texas; and more recently at West in … The CNN Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report. By the time the town's volunteer firefighters arrived, a cloud of dense and colorful smoke had attracted bystanders. McVeigh was executed in 2001. Asked in a telephone interview if there are any early findings in the investigations related to the cause of the explosion, she said, “There are no preliminary results or clarification.”. Firefighters from several Central Texas volunteer fire departments had already responded to the initial fire when the building exploded. You can read more about the West, Texas explosion here. The blast leveled nearly 1,000 buildings on land. Through a new or existing program and in conjunction with training partners, create and implement a competitive funding mechanism to provide training to regional, state, and local career and volunteer fire departments on how to respond to fire and explosion incidents at facilities that store fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN). Instead the catastrophe in Texas City was caused by the same material that apparently triggered a massive explosion in Beirut earlier this week: ammonium nitrate … Perhaps the closest comparison to Beirut’s explosion, in terms of scale, is a blast in Texas City in 1947, which was caused by 2,300 US tons (about 2,087 metric tons) of ammonium nitrate. Trump commutes remaining prison term of former Texas GOP congressman Steve Stockman, 4 NW Houston family members rushed to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning, Houston Forecast: Expecting A Rainy Wednesday, Houston Forecast: Rainy Wednesday, Then Colder Christmas Eve, 3 things to know about Katy Taylor football team, Rush block: Texans search for a head coach heat up. “I wrote to Putin everyday… Eventually we had to sell the fuel and use the money to hire a lawyer because there was not help, the owner did not even provide us with food or water,” Prokoshev said in a radio interview with Echo Moscow on Wednesday. Nearly seven years after a blast in Texas killed 15 people and injured 260, oversight of ammonium nitrate remains a patchwork and public information is … Published by City of Texas City. At least 2,300 tons had been loaded when workmen who boarded it noticed a fire. 5 min read Columns of black smoke rise from the Monsanto Chemical Company after a cargo ship loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer exploded at the nearby harbor of Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947. TEXAS CITY, Texas – Tuesday’s explosion in Beirut, Lebanon released incredible amounts of energy and resulted in unthinkable damage. In 2013, ammonium nitrate caused a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. Then, the ammonium nitrate cargo detonated in a blast so powerful it shook the ground for hundreds of miles and registered as an earthquake in Denver. Ammonium nitrate, which is used in fertilizers and bomb making, is a salt made from ammonium and nitric acid, and it is highly explosive. The sailors had been on the ship for 11 months with few supplies, according to Prokoshev. Ammonium nitrate is being cited as the source of the blast, just like in two massive Texas explosions. Trump demands Congress send bill with $2,000 stimulus checks; Pelosi concurs, You can read more about the West, Texas explosion here, Here's a look back at the Texas City explosion, You can learn more about the Oklahoma City bombing here, Negligence under investigation in Beirut explosion amid public anger, Experts suggest fireworks, ammonium nitrate likely fueled Beirut explosion, Lebanese community in Houston shaken after deadly blast rocks Beirut. On April 17, 2013, ten emergency first responders (ranging in age from 26 to 52 and all male) were killed when a burning fertilizer plant containing an estimated 40 to 60 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded just outside the city limits. They would eventually abandon the ship. 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