Hundreds Flee Deliberate Poison Cloud in Missouri : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


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"Monday February 28 2:41 PM ET

Hundreds Flee Deliberate Poison Cloud in Missouri

PLEASANT HILL, Mo. (Reuters) - More than 250 people were evacuated from their rural homes before dawn on Monday after someone deliberately caused a chemical leak that turned into a dangerous vapor cloud across Pleasant Hill, south of Kansas City, Mo.

Investigators said someone leaked about 200 gallons of anhydrous ammonia from a storage facility at a large agricultural services company shortly before 4 a.m. CST. Only two minor cases of respiratory irritation were reported.

``It wasn't just a mechanical problem. It was not an accident,'' Pleasant Hill Fire Captain Rod Richter told Reuters.

Between 250 and 300 people were evacuated by firefighters and rescue teams from about 100 homes for about 4 1/2 hours before it was deemed safe to return.

The chemical, which is used in farming operations and can be a severe irritant to humans, poured from an open valve and formed a large cloud of vapor before fire and hazardous materials workers arrived and were able to close off the valve.

``If my guys hadn't got down there and shut it off and done the evacuation smoothly, there could have been some folks with some fairly serious illnesses,'' Richter said. ``But God was on our side this morning.''

Though investigators initially believed the incident an accident, by midday a criminal investigation was under way.

They declined to speculate on who might have caused the leak or what their motives might have been."

-- Rachel Gibson (, February 28, 2000


I hope they catch the person. A lot of frail individuals could be seriously harmed by something like this. People are freaking NUTS!

-- Mara (, February 28, 2000.

What a sick puppy to do something like that. The person who caused this leak could have killed a lot of people. Thank God that it didn't have a tragic end. Hope they catch the individual and throw the book at him.

-- Lurking (Lurkess@Lurking.XNet), February 28, 2000.

It looks like we will have to not only license guns and parents but also NH3. This could have been worse than Columbine and they wouldn't have known it was coming and hide. Life is just to dangerous without more government supervision. Don't you think?

-- freemen (, February 28, 2000.

Not only NH3, but valve handles too. They're obviously extremely dangerous in the hands of terrorists. I've even heard that turnips can be deadly in the proper hands (no joke--there's been serious turnip injuries in the land of gun controls--England).

It's truly a strange time for the people of this planet. I hope that those nice folks in the DC beltway area will put an end to this ammonia terrorism, after all it's not good "for the children".

-- Strange (StuffGoing@On.Com), February 28, 2000.

If they catch the sick individual, she/he/it will no doubt claim insanity...(from breathing too much ammonia?)

-- Mad Monk (, February 28, 2000.

Anhydrous ammonia is used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Do a web search with your favorite search engine for the words ammonia and methamphetamine.

-- Sam (, February 28, 2000.

50,000 gallon anhydrous ammonia tanks are scattered throughout farm country. Check Risk Management Plans Search Utility to find a list of facilities handling large amounts of anhydrous ammonia in your neighborhood. Besides rural areas (where it is used for fertilizer), in cities food processing and storage facilities use large amounts of this chemical. From what i could tell from the Oklahoma listing, the typical footprint of a catatrophic release of say 50,000 gallons of AA had about a mile radius.

-- robert waldrop (, February 29, 2000.

oops, that s/b 50,000 pounds, not gallons, of AA (this would be about 12,000 gallons).

-- robert waldrop (, February 29, 2000.

They might find that the valve was opened as part of theft of anhydrous ammonia by ILLEGAL DRUG MAKERS. The currently popular method of making SPEED or "crystal methamphetamine" is what's called the "Nazi method", dating back to WWII Germany.

Instead of the old method of cooking a volatiale chemical formula, with the chance that the drug lab would catch fire and burn down, the Nazi method uses anhydrous ammonia as one of the base chemicals. Other compunds are added to the ammonia and the speed solidifies out during a chemical reaction.

The theft of anhydrous ammonia by drug gangs has become a new problem in rural areas in just the last year and incidents like this one will no doubt, occur more often. In their efforts to steal the precursor chemicals for their business the drug gangs don't care if leaving valves open causes injuries or deaths.

Unfortunately it only going to be a matte of time before there are deaths involving innocents by these types of activities. The fact they're in the drug making business proves the gang members don't care about human life.


-- Wildweasel (, February 29, 2000.

Thank you for the post Rachel. Hope they find the person quickly.

-- Dee (, February 29, 2000.

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