Tuesday, January 4, 2011
The largest explosion(above).
May 4 1988
A peaceful day at Pacific Engineering is shattered by a explosion from a single welders torch igniting 4500 tonnes of ammonium perchlorate, a important ingredient in rocket fuel.
The flames were watched by Rodney Mcarell who was working in a plant next to Pepcon,
Dennis Todd also watches the 200ft wall of flames from Black Mountain when he and his crew were
working on a television tower someone spotted smoke.
Trapped inside, employee of Pepcon Roy Westerfield calls 911.
Roy:"Emergency we need the fire department all you can get here,immediately."
Operator:"Whats the problem?"
Roy:"Oh, we've got, every thing's on fire."
Nearly 1000 rescuers responded, but as they approached the inferno the chemicals exploded creating the force of a earthquake measuring 3.0 on the Richter Scale and sending out a thunderous shock wave which blew windows in on a fire truck, sending the roof falling and injuring 2 firefighters.Minutes later 2 smaller explosions ripped through the panicked desert.
Then 30 seconds or more after the small blasts the 4th and largest explosion erupts like a gigaton of TNT, this time the plant looks like a volcano and its shock wave demolished the other plant and measured 3.5 on the Richter Scale, the force of the explosion was measured 600 miles away in Colorado.
Ambulances were already helping the injured, the most of the injuries were cut faces from glass and debris sent flying from the shock wave, including being thrown by the force.
A huge 372 were injured.
The 4th blast was not just ammonium perchlorate,it was also natural gas, after a gas pipeline under the plant ruptured triggering the explosion.
There was a total of 7 explosions in the disaster, 2 were killed, one of the fatalities was Roy Westerfield who suffered from polio and couldn't escape the plant, the other was Bruce Halker who was also disabled.The cost of damage was 100 million dollars.