September, 2001

This is a repeating event

200121SepAll DayToulouse Explosion 2001AZF Toulouse (FR) Origin: Marsh Industry:ChemicalsCountry:FranceLanguage:ENLoC:Overpressure


Between 20 and 120 tons of ammonium nitrate residue (equivalent to 20 to 40 tons of TNT) detonated on September 21, 2001 in the AZote Fertilisant (AZF) fertilizer plant in Toulouse, causing devastating effects at the site and far beyond.

At 10.17 am, a severe explosion (detonation) occurred in shed 221. The detonation, felt several kilometres away, corresponded to a magnitude of 3.4 on the Richter scale. Significant dust fallout from the installations and a crater were observed outside the plant.

An explosion at this fertilizer plant killed 31 people and hospitalized more than 600. The blast shattered windows and ripped doors from their hinges in the center of the city three kilometres away. Two chimneys and several buildings at the factory were flattened and damage was caused to more than 3000 homes, 500 of which are reported uninhabitable. There was a secondary blast at a nearby explosives factory, said to be caused from sparks created by the first explosion. The thick red and yellow flumes that spread over the city were first thought to be toxic and the public were advised to remain indoors. The blast left a crater 50 meters in diameter and 15 meters deep.

[ Property Damage $430 Million. Estimated Current Value $732 Million ]

Image credit: Thierry Bordas