Fertilizer: a Highly Combustable Substance

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GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn.-, When many people hear the word ‘fertilizer’, they usually think of something they use in the backyard to plant flowers or garden with. West Tennessee farmers use fertilizer every day. Fertilizer is the nutrients for crop production or any type of plant production. “Ammonium nitrate is probably the one that would be the one of most concern. It’s one of our major sources of nitrogen fertilizer and up until a few years go probably one of our largest homeowners used,” said Richard Bunton, Crockett County UT AG Extension Director An explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas damaged at least 75 homes and leveled homes and businesses. “This was a fertilizer distribution center. It was not a manufacturing site,” said Bunton. Fertilizer is a gas that is normally not flammable, however under pressure and with water added it can ignite and cause an explosion. “Unfortunately some of the nitrogen fertilizers have explosive properties and they were at one time readily available and inexpensive and unfortunately they were used for destructive purposes,” said Bunton.

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