AZF = Azote De France
Chemical products factory located in Toulouse, France, specialized in chemical fertilizers, and property of TotalFinaElf. Due to the dangerousness of the products it used, it was classified as a Sevezo structure.
On September 21st 2001, an explosion took place there in an ammonium nitrate storage. Of magnitude 3.2 on Richter Scale, it damaged 10 000 buildings, wounded around 2500 people and killed 30. The bang of the explosion was heard more than 100km away from Toulouse.
TotalFinaElf has decided not to open the factory again but the SNPE (Société Nationale des Poudres et Explosifs, "Powders and Explosives National Company", rough translation) is just next door and will keep on running. SNPE is another chemical installation which produces, among other things, fuel for the Ariane space launcher. Toulouse's suburbs are still inhabited by thousands of families at less than 2km from the area.