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A true tale of 2 survivors
by Mark on 4/25/2004 (0)

This is a true story about a 1986 chemical plant blast I survived, and a message board conversation I had with another chemical plant explosion survivor. This is not fiction or parody.

The following converation was on a Yahoo message board regarding a fatal plastic dust explosion at a Illinois PVC plant, killing 4.

markmotz1311: "In 1986 I worked as a lab rat for **** Central railroads in Ohio. My job was to test oils that had been used in everything from Semi trucks to the Space Shuttle. I was doing my thing at the ventilation hood, when...BAM! A tremendous blast...I saw white light, and felt my feet swept from under me, then silence.

What happened? A huge oxygen canister in a adjacent lab fell over, the nozzle broke off, and like a 500 lb. torpedo, it burst through a brick divider wall, through my lab, embedding itself in the brick wall beyond.

My ears and eyes were bleeding. I could not hear. To make matters worse, the oil I was flash point testing spilled down the hood and onto my pants...I was on fire!

My right pant leg and tennis shoe were on fire.

Putting that out was almost bad comedy.

You know how you detail in your mind what you'll do in case of a fire? You will memorize where the extinguishers are, and make a cool beeline from point A to point B, pick up the extinguisher, pull the pin, and put the fire out, right?


I was dazzled and bleeding. You know on TV shows like New York PD cop shows, where the camera is going up, down, left, right and jiggling around to mimic eye motion? That's what is was like for a few crucial seconds after the blast and when I was on fire.

The extinguisher was just a few feet from me. But on the ground, the lab in disorder, I was lost...bad. My eyes shot left, right, up down....where the fuck is it?!!!

I never saw it.

I DID see the fire blanket cylinder, pulled the hamper down, and managed to wrap it around myself. How? Beats the shit outta me. I got lucky. It happened to stray into my field of vision.

Emergency preparedness? Yeah,sure!

What I remember most was the shaking. I was shaking like a vibrator. I tried to stop it, but I couldn't. They put me on a did not stop for about an hour.

When I see bomb victims in Iraq I notice they are shaking...I understand it. I went through it. It really, really sucks."

ohgee75: "No-one has a clue as to what plastic dust can do.

The plant I worked at had 5 foot thick adobe walls that bowed when a silo blast chamber exploded. Three days later a second went!

If we hadn't just switched silos it would have flattened three blocks. And you do crazy things...shoot fire extinguishers at the top of a 50 foot silo, to try to put out the fire!

And you can't stop the shaking for hours..even after you are home.

But not until the third (explosion) that happened inside, in a transfer line did they shut down the plant and totally dismantel the system to find the cause.

The city had 6 fire stations, and 5 went to respond to the plant.
But it took 3 blasts to get the company to find the cause."

markmotz1311: "You think goofy things too. You know what popped into my head when I looked down and saw my leg burning?...I swear to God...

"Good thing I bought hi-top tennis shoes. Don't worry about the fire, you got hi-tops on..."

ohgee75: "It's a maelstrom of events. Order is lost. What's odd was my ex-wife never listened to my scanner. But that day she turned it on just as the fire call came over!

And a minute later my mom called with the news, to see if I was working at the time.

Then she whined no one answered the phone! We were way out of there. The plant was gone!

After it was fixed, some clown tossed a pallet from the second level to the first an

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