Mayors work on safety evacuation plan for residents near fertilizer plants

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

GRAYSON CO, TX-Months after a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, two Grayson county mayors work on a safety plan to prepare for the worst case scenario.

Two fertilizer plants are located right in the heart of Whitewright, just across from the high school and feet away from several residents making it uneasy for those who live nearby. That's why neighboring cities of Whitewright and Tom Bean are working together to make sure they have a plan in case an explosion, like the one in West, happens.

Joyce Hames lives just a few feet from two fertilizer plants in Whitewright and said a possible explosion, like the one in West back in April, was always in the back of her mind.

"It's just one of those things that happen, that's the way I look at it. I try not to think about it really, it's a sad thing that happen," she said.

That's why, Whitewright's Mayor was working with Tom Bean Mayor, Sherry Howard on a safety plan to get ready for the worst case scenario.

"They are our brothers and sisters in Whitewright and we'll do whatever we can to help them at the event of a bad accident like west just went through," said Howard.

She said they are discussing with Grayson county's emergency officials how they can evacuate Whitewright residents quickly and safely into Tom Bean, housing hundreds in the high school.

"We do have a plan of how it should be done correctly and take everybody into consideration, we're gonna make sure that all families are joined back together once they come by from Whitewright to Tom Bean," said Howard.

El Dorado Chemical Company's V.P., John Carver said they made some changes since the blast housing "ammonium nitrate" separately from any combustibles to avoid an explosion.

"We've removed virtually anything and everything other than the warehouse itself as far as any combustibles, like wooden pellets or gasoline or diesel that might have been stored in the warehouse," he said.

But Hames said a plan won't help much if one of the plants explode.

"It's gonna happen so fast that they won't be able to be prepared, that's the way I look at it. Like if it happens right now, if that thing blows up, I'm this close," she said.

But Howard said it's best to be prepared.

"If you don't plan now, you're not gonna have a good plan. So we have got to start now and hopefully it would never ever happen," she said.

Mayor Howard said she will be meeting up with the Whitewright Mayor and the Office of Emergency Management in a few weeks to work on more details of the safety plan.

We'll keep following this story for you.


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