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Resident Near Verdigris Fertilizer Plant Concerned After Texas Explosion

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The confirmed death toll in the town of West, Texas rose to 14 Friday, after an explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled everything within a four-to-five block radius of the plant. The confirmed death toll in the town of West, Texas rose to 14 Friday, after an explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled everything within a four-to-five block radius of the plant.
Talisha Nichols lives within walking distance of the Terra Nitrogen Fertilizer plant in Verdigris. Talisha Nichols lives within walking distance of the Terra Nitrogen Fertilizer plant in Verdigris.
The plant was built in the '70s, and primarily produces the chemicals to make liquid fertilizer--a product sold in bulk, usually to large farming operations. The plant was built in the '70s, and primarily produces the chemicals to make liquid fertilizer--a product sold in bulk, usually to large farming operations.
VERDIGRIS, Oklahoma -

The confirmed death toll in the town of West, Texas rose to 14 Friday, after an explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled everything within a four-to-five block radius of the plant. The search and rescue effort wound down there Friday.

There are two fertilizer plants in Green Country: one in Pryor and the other in Verdigris. But they aren't quite the same as the one in Texas. The facilities in our area produce and process chemicals used in fertilizers, while the plant in Texas was used to store and distribute the product.

Nevertheless, there are risks that come with both, and those who live close to the Verdigris plant say they've been on edge ever since the explosion Wednesday night.

"It's a neighbor, yes, absolutely, it's close enough to be a neighbor," said resident Talisha Nichols.

Nichols lives within walking distance of the Terra Nitrogen Fertilizer plant in Verdigris.

The plant was built in the '70s, and primarily produces the chemicals to make liquid fertilizer--a product sold in bulk, usually to large farming operations.

The engineering manager at the plant said, right now, there's an extra level of alertness at the facility and that safety is always the number one priority.

4/19/2013 Related Story: Death Toll At 14 In Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion

"We have to trust that those types of facilities are doing what they can to protect the people that live around them," Nichols said.

But for Nichols, she's beginning to question that trust and question her family's safety, after seeing the aftermath in West, Texas.

"Hearing that death toll certainly makes you think twice about being ready and living that close to something like this," she said. "It did instill a very quick moment of fear."

There are procedures in place if something should happen at the plant. It has a one-call system that would send a phone call to all the neighbors in the community. It also has a special siren and, as neighbors will tell you, it's tested on a weekly basis.

"It's a safety drill for them and it's something to help them keep the neighborhood safe, but when you don't know, it also keeps in the back of your mind that there's a reason that they have those drills, because there are times that things can go wrong," Nichols said.

If something were to go wrong, the Verdigris fire chief said his crew is ready. He said he has monthly meeting with the safety manager and they have a thorough plan in place.

The Verdigris plant says, in addition to the required safety standards, it has its own set of safety policies that workers must also follow.

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