Article Archive
Pasadena Revisited
IFW feature places in international writing contest
Fall 2010

A feature article written by "Industrial Fire World" publisher David White on the 20th anniversary of the Pasadena, TX, chemical complex explosion and fire received honorable mention in the 2010 Trade Association Business Publications International Tabbie Awards announced Sunday (July 12).

"Wrong Pasadena: 20th Anniversary of Epic Texas Plant Explosion" appeared in the September-October 2009 issue of "Industrial Fire World" magazine. The Oct. 23, 1989, emergency still ranks as the worst industrial disaster in U.S. history since Texas City in 1947.

White, an eyewitness to the events in Pasadena, related his own own first-hand account together with those of numerous responding industrial fire chiefs. The article opens with White conducting a class on industrial fire protection at a neighboring plant at the moment of the initial blast.

"Ladies and gentlemen," I said, "imagine if you had a major explosion … "

Without warning, a thunderous concussion slammed our ears. Ceiling tiles crashed down. Every molecule of existence heaved like a sick drunk. It was as if God’s celestial CD player skipped from Track 1 — "The Magic That Is David White" — to Track 13 — "Enola Gay Delivers the Goods."

Of course, some class clown asked if this was part of the presentation.

"No," I said, not at all amused. "Your friggin’ plant just blew up."

Responding to the emergency, White played an active role in obtaining crucial logistic support to battle the resulting fire that burned uncontrolled for nearly six hours after the first blast.

"Industrial Fire World" magazine, based in College Station, TX, serves fire, safety and emergency response professionals in the industrial market place. The magazine, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, reaches emergency responders working in and responsible for plants, factories, refineries and mills worldwide.

White's feature ranked sixth out of 25 finalists in the feature article category. Placing in the top three were features published in "Chemist + Druggist," "Engineering and Technology" and "LP Gas Magazine, respectively. A complete list of finalists is available at The feature from "Industrial Fire World" can be found at

The "Wrong Pasadena" feature marks the first time that "Industrial Fire World" has entered a competitive writing contest.

The 2010 Tabbie Awards featured nearly 500 entries, with nominations coming from the U.S., Canada, the U.K., India, New Zealand and South Africa. Magazines that took home four or more awards are "Architect," "Chemist + Druggist," "Civil Engineering," "Engineering and Technology," "Exhibitor Magazine" and "Modern Healthcare."


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