Texas explosion a reminder of Charleston's Albright and Wilson - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Texas explosion a reminder of Charleston's Albright and Wilson

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Albright and Wilson plant after a deadly explosion in 1991. Albright and Wilson plant after a deadly explosion in 1991.
CHARLESTON, SC -

Before it was the Rhoida plant it was Albright and Wilson the site of an explosion that rocked the neck area of Charleston on June 17, 1991.

Nancy Button from the Rosemont Community talked about the tragic event."It was devastating to find out you know some people had lost their lives that day and the families and everything."

The 60-year old shows a sense of pride and purpose when she says she has lived in the neighborhood off the King Street Extension since the day she was born.  The Chemical Plant came later but its presence was certainly felt over 2-decades ago when her community and those nearby witnessed a tragic event unfold.

Nine employees were killed and another 33 were injured. Witnesses described a thick mushroom cloud when a mixture of chemicals exploded. Some workers who were there that day say it's an event they would rather not talk about saying it looked and sounded like a bomb dropped.

 Button says a lot has changed since then and there are new plans in place to keep those living nearby safe if there are potential dangers. "If a chemical spill or there is anything over there they have a siren that goes off and that will let us know that something is going on. Also they have a radio station that we can tune into and then DHEC and everyone will come and tell us if we have to evacuate or what the situation is, so it's all in place."

 It was a year after the explosion that a cause was finally determined. Officials say it was ingredient contaminants and a cooling system malfunction.

 A lot people in the area share memories of the tragedy including State House Representative Wendell Gilliard. He worked at Albright and Wilson at the time of the explosion and lost a close friend. Thursday while in House Chambers he called for a moment of silence to honor those after Wednesday's explosion in West Texas.

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