Home > Articles > Deadly Texas Fertilizer Facility Fire, Explosion in 2013 Intentionally Set, ATF Says

Deadly Texas Fertilizer Facility Fire, Explosion in 2013 Intentionally Set, ATF Says

The deadly fire that preceded a massive 2013 explosion at a fertilizer facility in West, Tex., killing more than a dozen people and injuring hundreds, was intentionally set, federal authorities said Wednesday.

Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Texas State Fire Marshal’s office announced this finding at a news conference Wednesday, more than three years after the massive blast, saying they came to the conclusion after ruling out “all reasonable, accidental and natural causes.”

The sprawling investigation into the cause of the April 2013 fire — and the explosion that followed it about 20 minutes later — spanned more than 400 interviews and cost more than $2 million, according to the ATF. In addition, the agency said it conducted extensive testing at its fire research lab in Beltsville, Md.

No arrests had been made by Wednesday, the ATF said. The agency said it was offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrests of the person or people responsible for the fire.

The fire and explosion at the fertilizer facility leveled homes, killed 15 people and injured more than 200 others. The U.S. Geological Survey reported that the blast registered akin to a magnitude 2.1 earthquake, and the ATF said the crater left behind was 93 feet wide and 12 feet deep.

Doors and roofs were blown off homes by the blast, which ravaged a large portion of West and damaged more than 150 buildings, authorities said. Among the places damaged in the blast were schools, an apartment complex and a nursing home where investigators said many of the people seriously injured in the blast had been living.

Federal investigators later said that the fire and explosion were preventable and that the company, as well as local, state and federal agencies, had failed to identify and avoid a potential hazard.

Read full article here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2016/05/11/atf-deadly...