Officials to release results of West explosion investigation Thursday

14 May 2013 23:10  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Nearly a month after an explosion rocked a fertilizer distribution facility and killed 14 residents in West, Texas, federal and state officials said on Tuesday that they will release the results of the joint investigation on Thursday afternoon.

Many questions are still lingering regarding the cause of the deadly 17 April blast at West Fertilizer, which is currently be investigated separately by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)  and the Texas Rangers as a criminal matter.

The blaze led to the explosion demolished homes and businesses, resulting in approximately $100m (€77m) in damages and injuring 200 people.

Although authorities with Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the State Fire Marshal Office (SFMO) have determined that ammonium nitrate stored at the facility was the source of the massive eruption, investigators have not released any further information regarding the cause of the initial fire.

Thus far, investigators do know the origin of the fire was in the fertilizer and seed building, although the facility did not contain any ammonium nitrate, which authorities said was located in nearby bins.

West Fertilizer in February had informed state officials that the distributor could be in possession of as much as 270 tons of ammonium nitrate. While authorities have not declared how much of the chemical was present at the time of the incident, West Fertilizer officials have said the company had about 50 tons of the substance in storage.

Last week, DPS Director Steven McCraw announced he had asked the Texas Rangers to join McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara in reviewing the explosion in order “to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered”.

($1 = €0.77)

By: Mark Milam
+1 713 525 2653

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