[Environment] CRIME AND CRIMINALS: ARSON, MURDER HOMICIDE : UNITED STATES: STATES: TEXAS: West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire was Intentionally Set; ATF Offers $50k Reward

 

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CRIME AND CRIMINALS: ARSON, MURDER HOMICIDE :

UNITED STATES: STATES: TEXAS:

West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire wasIntentionally Set;
ATF Offers $50k Reward

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West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Fire wasIntentionally Set;
ATF Offers $50k Reward

Published time: 11 May, 2016 22:46

RT

https://www.rt.com/usa/342700-west-fertilizer-fire-arson/

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The devastating fire at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas that killed 15 and injured more than 300 people was intentionally set, federal authorities have announced. The massive explosion also destroyed 500 homes and released toxic fumes into the area.

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On the evening of April 17, 2013, a fire was reported at the West Fertilizer Company facility. About 22 minutes later, an explosion occurred, sending a fireball nearly 100 feet (30 m) into the air. Of the 15 people who died in the fire, 12 were first responders ? nearly a third of the towns volunteer firefighting force, NPR reported at the time.

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The US Geological Survey registered the explosion as a 2.1 magnitude quake, adding that the magnitude measures only the ground motion, not the air wave, so is substantially less than the true size of the event. It also caused a massive power outage in the surrounding neighborhood, demolished more than 500 homes ? as well as a high school, middle school, apartment complex and a nursing home ? and left a crater 93 feet (28 m) wide and 12 feet (3.6 m) deep.

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After more than 400 interviews, a systematic fire-scene examination, the review of witness photos, videos and observations, as well as extensive scientific testing, the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced Wednesday that the fire has been ruled incendiary, meaning that it had been intentionally set.

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We have eliminated all reasonable accidental and natural causes and after the extensive testing that we conducted, ATF Houston Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder said at a press conference. “Why the fire was set I don’t know. I can’t say what their intent was.”

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So far, the investigation has cost $2 million. On top of that, the ATF is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the fire and subsequent explosion, the bureau said.

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snip

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The fire and subsequent explosion cost more than $100 million in damage, but the facility only had $1 million in liability coverage with no excess or umbrella coverage, an attorney for West Fertilizer Companys insurance company said in May 2013.

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A lawyer representing a number of people suing the plant for losses wasnt surprised.

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“It’s rare for Texas to require insurance for any kind of hazardous activity, Randy C. Roberts said. We have very little oversight of hazardous activities and even less regulation.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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