October, 1980

This is a repeating event

198021OctAll DayNew Castle Explosion 1980Amoco New Castle (US-DE)Industry:PetrochemicalsCountry:United StatesLanguage:ENLoC:Maintenance error Origin: Marsh Incident:VCEHazards:FlammableImpact:HUMAN (On Site Fatalities)Effects:1-10 FatalitiesMaterial:Hexane


An explosion occurred while polypropylene polymerization was being carried out in three parallel reaction trains (A,B,C) at this petrochemicals plant. The reactants were carried in a hexane solvent with several catalysts and processed onto pellets. As a result of a maintenance error, a 100 millimetre plug valve was blown out of a line in train A, releasing hydrocarbons and polymers. The vapor cloud rose upward, carried by a light wind into the finishing building, where the explosion occurred. Further fires resulted from broken flammable liquid lines in the process area and from the released products in the finishing area. The loss included the three trains, the control building, the compressor building, and part of the finishing building.

[ Property Damage $45 Million. Estimated Current Value $147 Million ]

Image credit: Leo S. Matkins