By Nannette Miranda
WEST SACRAMENTO, CA - The huge fiery explosion at a fertilizer plant in the normally quiet town of West, north of Waco, Texas is a wake-up call; it raised concerns of whether that could happen here in California.
According to the Department of Industrial Relations, there are six fertilizer manufacturers in the state, including Agriam in West Sacramento.
Fire Chief Al Terrell said there are regulations and plans that the city and company have in place in case of similar plant explosion.
Terrell said notification is the key. A siren at the Agriam facility will sound, reverse 911 will activate and authorities will go door-to-door to alert everyone of an accident.
Key personnel are also trained to respond to the hazardous situation.
"You want to have an evacuation plan in place right away," Terrell said. "You want to establish what to do based on the nature of the incident - how you're going to respond."
But to prevent an explosion in the first place, local authorities, not state authorities, are required to check the facilities in person.
"We conduct annual inspections that's planned when we go in and inspect the entire facility be also conduct unannounced ones," Terrell said.
Local authorities work with state departments to regulate fertilizer plants. They all actually regulate these manufacturers together under what's called the Certified Unified Protection Agency or CUPA, which delegates to locals the authority to enforce state law.
West Sacramento residents said they think that power is helpful because bureaucracy can slow response.
"I feel confident in West Sacramento, that they're aware and they have the proper protocols in place to keep us safe," resident Erin Smith said.
Unlike the Texas town, West Sacramento did not build neighborhoods within a mile of Agriam; still, the plant is located in an industrial park that employs many people.
"I'm definitely concerned," employee Selina Trujillo said. " I wouldn't know what to do if something like that happened."