Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Now that's a fire!

OK, now that that nasty business is over back to blogging (final headcount on the plus side of 108, a very bad day)

Today on the way home I stopped in the Plaza Monumental Wal-Mart to get some beer (more on this aberration later, let's just say for now that "yes, they really did demolish the bullring in Juárez to build a Wal-Mart). As I got out of my car I noticed a large plume of black smoke rising up in the sky. Two days ago a warehouse burnt down and the sky was full of smoke so I thought it was odd to have another one so soon (it's not very common but it happens just like everywhere else). Here's some early shots of the plume from the downtown TXDOT cameras in El Paso.

By the time I got home an hour and half later the plume was so large it filled the sky and was creating it's own stratus cloud far into Texas.

It's now 10:12 PM, over 5 hours since I first noticed it and the fire is now so large that it is consuming the entire MCS de Mexico plant located on the Carratera PanAmerica (yea, the one they race on) out by the airport. They make "home furnishings". This is about 40 miles from my house and I can see it from here. The entire fire fighting force of Juárez is on the scene and they have requested Governor Rick Perry of Texas to allow the fire dept of El Paso to cross into Mexico to help.

The surrounding area is being evacuated because there is a huge tank of Freon inside the plant that they expect to explode at any minute.

Now I wasn't aware the Freon would even burn so I googled it and guess what, burning Freon releases phosgene gas! Phosgene was also know as mustard gas during WWI and is some really nasty stuff (it's banned under the Geneva protocol of 1925 as a weapon of war).

Right about now, I'm pretty glad I took the wind patterns into account when I bought my house (there's an oil refinery on the other side of town and the legendary ASARCO copper smelter is here so I bought upwind unaware that ASARCO had been closed).

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