Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Friday, April 19, 2013

Ammonia


A post by E.B. Misfit prompted me to recall the great Ammonia Truck Explosion of 1976 in Houston, Texas. I used to pass that Pearl Beer sign on the way to work every morning.


View April 2013 in a larger map

The blue line is the route the ammonia truck took, heading North and taking the exit from 610 onto the Southwest Freeway heading West, except it didn't make it. I was working in the same building as Gilbert Plumbing (the green square) and I remember hearing the great big boom. Fortunately the wind was blowing away from me. It was a big deal when it happened. People died, people injured, freeway damaged. I remember hearing that the ammonia peeled the paint on a bunch of houses to the North East of the accident.
And then there was the giant storage tank we came across in Iowa some years ago. As I recall we were on our way from Rockwell City to Sioux City, but for some reason we weren't taking the normal route. At one of the crossroads there was a giant circular storage tank. In my mind's eye it was 500 feet in diameter and a hundred feet tall, and it was full of something dangerously unpleasant, like ammonia or fertilizer or natural gas. I can't recall exactly, it was a long time ago. But it was so weird seeing this mammoth tank out in the middle of nowhere. Of course it makes sense to put it out there, I mean these things are dangerous, and you would not want to be around if it blew up. I went looking for it using Google and Google Maps, but no luck so far. Of course, I could be way off. Or it might have blown up, though I think I would have heard about it.

Update March 2016. Replaced 'red line' with 'blue line' on account of Google Maps changing the color of the line on the map without consulting me. Hmmph.

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