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The Worlds Largest Inland Oil Refinery Explodes...And I Live Only 3 Miles From It

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posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 05:15 PM
Ok guys, i know exactly what caused the explosion...

My friends dad was literally right at the explosion. His description of what happened... Him and another guy were going throigh the propylene section of the plant, and there is a 12in. pipe that is supposed to hold like 600lb of pressure but for some reason only had like around 300. So, they were talking to the guys at the computers about the pressure and next thing they know the pipe just split. A 12 in. Pipe. He said propylene gas filled the area and was so thick that he couldnt see his hand in front of his face. Luckily he had been working there for around 20 years, so he knew his way around the area and was making his way to the Water cannon to saturate the gas. He said as soon as he went to grab the cannon... he quickly realized this was propylene gas and would find an igniter like nothing. Next thing he knows Boom! he flew probably around 100 yards which is a miracle he didnt die from that. Actually it is a miracle he was turned to dust from the blast and flames, but the only thing that saved him was that Water cannon shielding him from the flame. The guy he was walking with was one of the guys on the news that was burned. That guy found a concrete barrier when the gas was everywhere and he hid behind that barrier. The flames came over the barrier and scorched his face, knees, and legs. The skin was literally dripping off his knees, but his face looked like he had a bad sunburn.

Many things went right on a day that something went wrong. The guys son, my friend, was supposed to be at the exact spot and he has only been working there like 6 months and he is convinced he would have been dead, except his alarm didnt go off that morning. Another guy that would have also been right there was unable to start his truck that morning and therefore wasnt there. Everyone in the office buildings were off yesterday due to President's day, so they lucked out. And the guy i spoke of was VERY lucky he didnt die.

VERY lucky noone was hurt. I drove past the plant last night and today and it is bad! Through luck, the Cat Cracker was far enough from the explosion that i t didnt explode itself. If so, 2 hours in every direction would have been engulfed in flames, not to mention the shockwave that blast would have sent out. Just the "small" area that exploded yesterday showed up on Doppler Radar!

[edit on 19-2-2008 by dteaff02]

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 05:24 PM

Originally posted by shug7272

Originally posted by lordapathy
I just watched CNN, SkyNews, CBS,NBC, BBC, Al Jazeera and EuroNews. the only think mentioned about Texas was all those boxes found with stuff about Kennedy. (I'm in the UK)

Absolutely no one is covering this story with any ferocity except for our dilligent man in the field.

Bigfatfurrytexan, you are doing a bang up job sir. Keep safe.

Does anyone have anymore details about that explosion in Mt Top? Is there any possibility that there is some link or just an amazing cowinkedink?

I just reported in from 30 miles away. The reason it is not being reported is it was not a huge, devastating explosion. It did a small amount of damage to the refinery. This refinery is HUGE and only one small little area is effected. The reason nobody is making a big deal about it is because it is no big deal. The refinery is right near a busy interstate and didnt even effect traffic aside from the firefighting. Again, no big deal. When I was REALLY young a refinery in Artesia NM blew and it was a BIG deal. Blacked the whole sky for days. This is not even close and the Artesia refinery is nothing compared to BS Texas.

wow, you my friend have no clue what you are talking about. Sorry. Small amount of damage?... no. The whole south side was destroyed except for the Cat Cracker. The reason why it wasnt turned into a big deal is because no one was killed which really is a miracle if you witnessed this from a mile away instead of 30. You do realize that just a little more feet and even your ass would have been toast? Everywhere from Midland, Snyder, Merkel, Colorado City, lubbock and San Angelo would have been engulfed in flames. You sound like the jackass' around this town that think just a 1/3rd of big spring would be gone if the cat cracker exploded. Last i heard from alot of the employees is they will most likely be without a job because they really dont see this thing being rebuilt. People i know in San angelo drove down here and said the news didnt do this justice because it was 10x worse.

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 05:29 PM
reply to post by dteaff02

Amazing correspondence of events, thanks for that!

Any speculation on why a pipe would fail at half it's normal operating pressure?

Undetected corrosion?

Maybe, lax maintenance?

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 05:37 PM
forgot to mention... that right when the pipe exploded the pressure shot back up for no apparant reason. I cant give an explanation to this. I know it shot up so fast there was no time to warn my friends dad and the other guy right there.

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 05:40 PM
There were two refineries that had problems yesterday.

I have made a guess here.


posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 05:46 PM
reply to post by dteaff02

So, possibly, a blockage upstream of the sensor caused the low reading and when it suddenly gave way, the sudden surge of pressure resulted in a hammer-effect on the, perhaps, already weakened pipe section leading it to fail.

Glad I didn't continue in chemical operations after the plant I worked at blew up.

But that's a story for another thread.

And no, it wasn't my fault.

[edit on 19-2-2008 by goosdawg]

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 05:50 PM
yeah possibly the pipe had signs of failure because he mentioned how they usually just patch stuff up for a quick fix just to get past inspection.

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 06:45 PM
Well...getting my laptop fired up, after the day i have had, is not what i want to do. So i will use the desktop system, and upload my picture at another time. The below image is far better than what i have, as i got mine with a cell phone while on the interstate (the service roads are blocked off by police still).

That picture is from the Big Spring Herald, our local paper.

The building in the foreground is where the office staff are located. None were there, otherwise the blast could have been worse.

The article in the local paper is:

“Of course, the most pressing question right now is determining how this happened. Once we’ve determined that, we’ll begin working on the next phase, which is figuring out what resources it will take to get the refinery up and running again.”

An explosion ripped through the Big Spring Refinery at approximately 8:15 a.m. Monday, sending a shock wave through the surrounding communities.

An Alon employee, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said Monday the cause of the explosion was a propylene tank leak that could not be stopped, causing a mist-like vapor to gather in the refinery. According to the witness, the vapor got into a cracker heater and an alkaline unit, causing both to explode simultaneously.

In my place of work we have a glass wall that is buckled in. We have it braced up. Our cieling tiles are in disarray, and my site director said that the ceiling was waving across expanse of our site. It sits the same distance from the refinery as my house.

In my house I have a crack in my bedroom and living room ceiling, as well as down two bedroom walls. My XBox 360 fell off the shelf and is broken, too (the DVD-ROM won't try to read anything).

I also suddenly ended up with two separated tread on my Tahoe's front tires, just like about 5 other people in the neighborhood. Since i was needing to replace them anyway, i am eating the cost on that. But the XBox and the house? Yeah, i am calling them in a guess. I just don't like being that way....personal responsibility and all. But considering the costs, what else do i do?

posted on Feb, 19 2008 @ 10:08 PM
Glad you & your family are OK. This could of been much worse, considering the size of the complex. Nice work Furry friend.

posted on Feb, 20 2008 @ 12:29 AM
reply to post by dteaff02

I do believe that if the FCC goes it would cause substantial damage. I dont know how many bpd the FCC there but i will assume around 35K. Not only do the reactors pose a problem but so does the gas and oil fractionation sides. It is very fortunate that the FCC survived this mess. I know of a refinery that almost had a reversal of catalyst in the FCC. But, what i would be concerned about if i lived in the general area of the refinery is that of an HF release. One of the reports stated that the explosive mixture was lit off the Alky heater.
My prayers and good wishes go out to ALL of the workers at the big spring plant. Even in the days of huge cat spreads and delayed turnarounds god is still looking out for the people who put their lives on the line to make an honest wage.

posted on Feb, 20 2008 @ 12:53 PM
OK, this story is about done. But here are the pics i have told you about.

I will hit a few highlights here:

There was a car hit by debris on the interstate in front of the refinery. here it is:

The offices were destroyed:

The "cat cracker" is the tall structure just to the left of the smoke:

And, the twisted heap of smoldering metal:

If you look at the album, there is more.

posted on Feb, 20 2008 @ 03:00 PM
Excellent pictures fat furry texan. Good thing it was a holiday looking at the office area.

I have tried to stay away from the conspiracy theorys and not let them cloud my judgement. I also did not realize that it was an Isreali company. The CEO Mr Morris did not seem very reassuring as to the cause during his comments on the local news.

There are a lot of strange facts. President's day of all days.

[edit on 20-2-2008 by royalblood]

posted on Feb, 21 2008 @ 10:00 AM
It must be a terrifying experience to witness an explosion of this magnitude, a 31in diameter natural gas line exploded near my house about 6 months ago but it wasn't nearly as big as this one looked. I found more pictures at and

[edit on 21-2-2008 by kronos96]

[edit on 21-2-2008 by kronos96]

posted on Sep, 15 2008 @ 04:25 PM
So it has been several months since the initial blast. Because of the explosion i have had to move into a new home, and i lost my job of 8 years (we couldn't hire anyone because what the oilfield didn't take out of the workforce, the refinery did...consider how many wives quit working for us when their husbands began making 25 bucks an hour and the wives stayed home).

On the 18th of this month (that is 3 days) they are going to "fire it up" again.

Of course, OSHA was on site to certify much of the labor being done. And they required many pipeline repairs/replacements. Of course, many of these replacements were not done.

Due to the shoddy nature of the work that was done, most of the original engineers have bailed, stating that they don't want their name associated with this refinery when it blows again. Following them out the door were many of the "old timers" who know that the engineers are smart enough to leave while the getting was good.

The "Cat Cracker" was supposed to be replace, as the propylene tanks were less than 100ft from it when they exploded. As well, the fire burned right up to the cracker (the fireman who stood between the wall of fire and the cat cracker is a friend of mine, and the biggest hero i have ever known...God bless him), within 20 feet. The heat is feared to have created weaknesses in the metal forming the cracker (when the first blast happened, the suction of O2 from the area extinguished the first 2 stages on the cracker, otherwise you would likely be getting this report from me while on a ouija board)

So, this old Cat Cracker is in need of replacement, and they are still going to fire it up and make gasoline and jet fuel. The engineers that left don't think it can withstand the pressures, and that it may blow on the same day that they start it up again.

Bigfatfurrytexan and his family will be sitting in Odessa, Texas all day trying to stay away from the explosions.

posted on Sep, 15 2008 @ 05:16 PM
Thanks for the heads-up BFFT. I will be sitting in Midland on the 18th, holding my breath. Did they take care of your losses?

[edit on 15-9-2008 by earthspace1st]

posted on Sep, 15 2008 @ 06:26 PM

Originally posted by earthspace1st
Thanks for the heads-up BFFT. I will be sitting in Midland on the 18th, holding my breath. Did they take care of your losses?

[edit on 15-9-2008 by earthspace1st]

Yeah, but i wasn't the property owner. My grandmothers estate was. We are going to court over that, as they only want to pay 5k for the house, and it isn't livable (foundation is cracked/buckled, rafters pulled loose, bricks missing on all sides, crack in the bricks up the side in a stairstep...the house is totalled).

but the damage to my personal property was covered without issue, as it was less than 5k (i absorbed the costs of moving and such as an act of citizenship).

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 03:38 PM
If you moved to Odessa, that was a better choice than Midland IMHO. Seems like I hear destiny calling me today to dig around the Tesla/Scherf connection. I see you are associated with the Pegusas Project. I would love to have coffee with you and your wife and discuss this facinating subject.

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