West, Texas explosion: Could it happen here?

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West, Texas explosion: Could it happen here?

CREATED Apr 18, 2013

Reporter: Marcelino Benito

ST. DAVID, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - Here in Southern Arizona, we have a similar type fertilizer plant of our own, the Apache Nitrogen Plant in St. David. In light of the Texas explosions, 9OYS wanted to know what the plant is doing to keep disaster at bay and those that live around the plant safe.

"I never saw an explosion like that," said Frank Miller. "It reminded me of like an atomic bomb."

Miller and his wife live in St. David. Their neighbor, just a mile and a half away, is the Apache Nitrogen Plant.

"If it happens, we know we're part of it," said Miller.

9OYS reporter Marcelino Benito asked Miller what he thought when he saw the dramatic explosions in Texas. Miller replied, "That, that might could happen to us."

9OYS spoke with Apache Nitrogen Plant officials. They tell us they deal with some of the same chemicals the Texas plant did. But the likelihood of an explosion like this: very small.

"Safety is paramount to what we do," said President Jeremy Barrett. "But our goal is that potential scenarios that could lead to them becoming dangerous are avoided."

If a similar type explosion happened at the St. David plant, homes as far as Sierra Vista and Vail would feel the shock. But for Miller, it would be far worse.

"We just pray to God that we won't have to go through that experience," said Miller.

But if they did, Miller says he feels prepared. The plant has given neighbors emergency kits and instructions, just in case.

"We value understanding what the causes were of this incident, to understand if there's anymore that we can do to make our industry safer," said Barrett.

So the plant like the rest of the country waits to find out what went wrong in West, Texas.

The plant recently upgraded equipment and technology on site. Barrett wants the surrounding community to know the plant values its relationship with neighbors and that he is confident in the safety plan they have in place.