Monday, February 18, 2008

Tragedy at Big Spring

I received a call early this morning from my brother Scott, who lives in Big Spring. He told me there had been numerous explosions at the refinery. My heart stopped cold. Since 9/11, whenever the terrorist alert escalates, the oilfield cringes – and in West Texas, the Alon Refinery, along with the Midland Tank Farm, is always “a possible terrorist target”. This morning, though, that wasn’t where my mind went - I didn't even think about how, or why – instead, my mind went reeling way back, to my early youth. You see, our Mom retired from that same refinery, after 25 years of service. Back then, it was called the Cosden Refinery. You can go look at images of the Big Spring, Texas Alon Refinery explosion at Eric's Fireant Gazette.

My mind immediately catapulted back to another explosion - one that happened when I was maybe 11 or 12, I can’t remember. One of our family friends , Jerry Callahan, was burned badly in that explosion, and I believe others died. My most poignant memories are of things like the cloud of grief that settled over our house – and the immense pain our friend suffered, for the long months of his healing. I remember seeing the abject sorrow on the face of Jerry’s wife, Jo Dell, who happened to be one of my Mom’s coworkers, as well as her best friend.

And then, my mind went from that event to the present explosion…I immediately started praying for those possibly injured, their families, and the people of Alon and Big Spring.

Please keep these people in your prayers. The oilpatch is a dangerous place – but oil and gas, contrary to those media types who will tell you otherwise, is something America would be hard pressed to do without. And before you try to trash me on my stance, do yourself a favor.

Do your homework.

22 comments:

bill said...

I agree with your comments about the patch, and your sentiments. We can't do without it, or the brave people who work there.

Janie said...

Thanks, Bill - and welcome!

thisisme said...

Oh, Janie, my prayers are with them all.

Janie said...

Thanks, Thisisme! Like Bill said, these are brave people. They deserve our prayers. Thanks so much.

Pam said...

When I read about it this morning I was wondering about Scott and his family. I'm glad they are ok. I am grateful for those who work in those refineries...I get to drive my car, heat my home, etc. because they are willing to work with that volatile "stuff". It pains me that my immediate thought was, was it an attack? Wake up America, we need to build more refineries, and be sure the ones we have are safe and protected. I guess my Marine Corps daddy is talking through me today...

Lone Chatelaine said...

I agree with you, Janie. You've got my support, and your hometown is in my prayers.

Mike M said...

Very cool blog. I will be back for more!

Anonymous said...

You know, terrorist activity did not even cross my mind, is that good thing or a bad thing?

Anyway it sure looks like we were very lucky (or under "God's watch" how ever one chooses to attribute it) this time. It is interesting to hear one's familly history of past events.

Anonymous said...

I can't make this thing work anymore under my name of "OTIM"
So I guess I will become Anonymous for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Or maybe I am not getting the hint?

OTIM

Janie said...

Pam - you rock, girlfriend!!

Chatelaine - thanks, girl, for your prayers and support.

Mike M - thanks for stopping by! Come back anytime!

OTIM - I think it's good that you didn't automatically go to the terrorist event thought! And I like the OTIM name...hopefully, you can get it fixed...

Gwynne said...

I'm glad nobody you knew was injured. That must be very surreal when your mom worked there. You know, I don't think I ever knew or thought about how dangerous the oil fields are until I met all you wild and crazy West Texans. Prayers for the families and for you in your new endeavors.

Karen said...

Tell it, sister! It is so irritating to here those who bash 'big oil' as the bad guys. And for the Democrats to say, as Obama and Clinton both promise, that they will do away with the tax breaks to the oil companies. I guess they want to pay more at the pump.

The world doesn't run without oil and gas.

Snooty Primadona said...

Hi Janie:

Great post! As anyone who works in the oil bidness knows, the people working in the refineries are just good hard-working folks who go to work everyday so they can feed their families. They aren't the big deal-makers or the big money makers. They are just regular, hard-working folks. I am so thankful it wasn't any worse than it was. Because when I think about what COULD have happened, it sends chills up my spine.

Yesterday morning when the explosion happened, I was sitting at my computer just opening my e-mail when I heard AND felt the explosion nearly 50 miles away. It really freaked me out and it was several minutes before I could muster up the nerve to go outside & see what happened. I was convinced that a dead tree had crashed against the house or something worse. I made a full trip around our house & didn't see anything unusual, so I went back in & started on my work for the day. It was a couple of hours later before I learned of the explosion in Big Spring. It was at that moment that I began to pray for those people.

A friend of mine called whose mother-in-law lived about 2 miles away from the explosion site, to let me know we wouldn't be doing lunch because she was going to check on her M-I-L. Apparently, her house sustained a severe amount of damage, but more than anything she was a nervous wreck & just needed someone to be with her. I prayed for her as well.

Yes, the oil industry is risky business in more ways than one, but who wants to be the first moron to stand up & say it's not needed? Just let me at 'em, LOL!

By the way... thanks for the hook-up! I did the same. ;-)

Snooty

Janie said...

Gwynne - thanks, girlfriend! We do work in a wild and crazy place, but greatly rewarding and lots of fun! You should come try it!!

Karen - you and I both know that's right!

Snooty Primadona - I have several friends that live in proximity to the refinery, and they suffered damage as well...but personal injuries, thank God! (I probably know your friend's in-laws, we probably have lots of mutual buddies!) Thanks for your prayers, I'm praying, too - I'm glad no one was hurt seriously.

Snooty Primadona said...

Janie:

I really am amazed that no one was killed. Maybe the Lord has bigger plans for these people, huh? Anyway, it will be interesting to finally learn what happened, once they figure it out. Who knows how long that will take?

Cheers ~ Snooty (Liz)

In_spired said...

Brother Scotte's post is interesting. All of you are on my mind. This hits pretty close to home. I'd rather be reading about Zack and Zoie (lol)

Hope all is well with you this week (with your new job!)

Janie said...

Snooty Primadona - I think they've pretty much figured out what happened...you can read it on Sticky Doorknobs.

Inspired - thanks for sending me to check his blog! I do, daily, but didn't take the 'puter home last night to the illustrious hotel. Been pretty busy today.

Can you believe the Big Spring Herald would agree to do something like that? What were they thinking???? I'm embarrassed.

Emma Sometimes said...

Even if America could do without oil and gas, another commenter said it well.

The people working in the refineries are just good hard-working folks who go to work everyday so they can feed their families. They aren't the big deal-makers or the big money makers. They are just regular, hard-working folks.

I would whole-heartly agree. My cousin works in the industry in Salt Lake area and had first hand pics of the disaster (he had to go down and help with the aftermath). Very very sad.

Janie said...

Emma - you're right, girl. The Oilpatch is full of hard-working folks.

I bet that was hard on your cousin and his coworkers. God bless them, every one.

i beati said...

I was extremely impressed with the evacuations and emphasis on human life. I watched it closely and God was close at hand. I do hope they are all able to recoup and I strongly agree wiuth your stance..

Janie said...

Sandy - you probably saw more than myself! I've been very impressed with how Big Spring and Alon handled things...