The incident occurred at 0600 hours, when the secondary safety system experienced a computer malfunction. At that time, a statistically non-significant portion of material was released into the immediate environment in the form of a vapor cloud. This has resulted in certain possibly temporary changes in the local ecology. Long-term effects are being studied, but are unlikely to be fatal in more than a small number of cases.
The physical integrity of the building surrounding the tank was not compromised. Once containment was achieved, production was brought back online within two work days.
Although skin lesions, prolonged nausea and convulsions have been reported by residents within a three kilometer radius of the facility, liability will be limited, as some symptoms had already been noted over the three years since the facility went on line, at which time residents were notified in writing that problems could occur should they spend more than a stipulated amount of time within a certain distance of the facility (a circle that encloses the existing town and nearby farms). Litigation is therefore expected to be limited to the most severe cases, i.e., permanent disfigurement, birth defects, and loss of life (children younger than 2 or the elderly).
It was just after dawn when the big tank blew. It sounded like the whole damn place had gone up. Windows busted clear down to the south end of town, miles away. Then a big, ugly beehive of orange gas came out, smelling worse than anything you can possibly imagine, and that amn’t all—most every tree, bush and blade of grass within a quarter mile was stone dead in a week. Nothing came back, either, right around the plant, and it seems like it’s going to stay that way for good.
The most amazing part of the whole damn thing is that the factory itself wasn’t even damaged. All that poison just blew itself out, all over us. They got the place going again inside of a day and a half.
I don’t feel too good these days, and I sure don’t want to work there anymore, but the kids need to eat.
As you can see from these pictures, the whole event was a real photo opportunity. When I’m doing ‘art’, I like early morning light, because it produces the most interesting shadows, but the real reason I was set up there that day was I had been hired to shoot some pictures of the office building for the annual report. After the explosion, all I had to do was reposition my camera. Remember--- part of being an award-winning photographer is always being ready for ‘accidents’ like this.
Formally, the sensuously-rounded shape of the cloud in this next shot presents a dynamic contrast to the geometry of the building under it. (laughter.) Nice color, too—that saturated orange against the blue of the sky.
This last one was taken in one of the town parks, about six months later, when I figured it was safe to come back to finish the shoot. That teenage girl in her crop top on the dead grass says it all. Besides, a little skin will always help you to sell your work to magazines. Take it from an expert: if you can show’ em pain, humiliation, sex or kittens, you’ll be on your way to making a sale.
There was a big noise which woke me and my brother up and them it smelled really bad and my mom wouldn’t let me play outside and Ricky’s mom won’t let him come over here any more. I don’t care about not playing in the yard anyways because the grass died and all the leaves fell off the tree even though it isn’t fall. Grandma wants us to come stay with her but Lyle has these scabs on his arms and he keeps throwing up so we have to stay here until he gets better.