Imagining ground zero
Hemel Hempstead, UK, suffered through a huge oil explosion early this morning. I have visited this area several times and can't imagine what force this powderkeg unleashed. From notes I gathered from someone I know who lives less than 20 miles SE of HH, this thing essentially jolted everyone up, not quite as if an earthquake had occurred, but more like that something had fallen down in the house. The explosion set off a black cloud that moved southeast and then south reaching the outskirts of London in the early evening. The really thick black smoke had the faint whiff of benzene.
Hemel Hempstead resides right off the M1 expressway and has a residential feel with open spaces and farmland. Apparently, most of the buildings had their windows imploded with some roofs going up. The oil depot provided jet fuel to Heathrow and Luton airports (the latter just north of there). The most recent re-fueler truck stationed there happened to escape the major explosion. But cascading explosions also occurred which continued throughout the day.
Rumor has it that people heard the explosion in Surrey (south of London) and northern France (not as far as one would imagine if you don't know London's geography).
Next time I go to London, I might get a chance to check the area out.
One last note from the U.K sums up the situation: "reliance on fossil fuels"
Update: Possible terrorist attack?
On Wednesday, a videotape by al-Qaida No. 2 Ayman al-Zawahri was shown on the Internet calling for attacks against Gulf oil facilities. Portions of the video were released Sept. 19 and shown on Al-Jazeera television.
"I call on the holy warriors to concentrate their campaigns on the stolen oil of the Muslims, most of the revenues of which go to the enemies of Islam," said the Egyptian al-Zawahri.
"The enemies of Islam are exploiting such vital resources with incomparable greed, and we have to stop that theft with all we can and save this fortune for the nation of Islam."