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T2 explosion details released, former employee reacts

"I lost a lot of friends that day. Don't forget these guys,"
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Updated: 9/15/2009 11:15 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- 18 months after the massive T2 explosion in North Jacksonville, investigators have figured out why it happened.

The US Chemical Safety Board released its findings Wednesday and says it believes a system failure in the coolant in a reactor caused the tank to explode.

The board says the explosion was caused after a chemical reaction inside a giant tank was allowed to run unchecked. Four people died that day, more than 30 others were injured.

The images are burned into Bill Retzer's mind. Not a day goes by that he doesn't think about the explosions at T2.
"You never lose the memories, good or bad. It was a pretty horrific day," said Retzer.

Retzer was the office manager then and escaped with only a scrape on his forehead. But all the horrific pictures came rushing back as he listened to the CSB talk about what went wrong December 19, 2007.

The board found T2 owners just didn't know enough about the effects of the chemical. They also say the cooling system at the plant malfunctioned, causing overheating and the explosion. But even hearing that, Retzer doesn't blame the owners.

"How do you fault someone for something they don't know. They didn't do it to cause this, no way," said Retzer.

He's not the only one this report brings back memories for. Firefighters like Kurtis Wilson listened, remembering the moment of rushing in to find victims.

"One of the victims was on the phone saying were trapped," said Wilson.

The investigation may be done and for these two men. It brings a sense of closure to a horrific day they'll never forget.
"We had a lot of questions," said Wilson. "I lost a lot of friends that day. Don't forget these guys," said Retzer.

The board has a lot of recommendations in the report. The biggest one is to do more research on this chemical so something like this doesn't happen again.
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