West, Texas Fertilizer Accident Ruled Criminal Act
A new report has been released that has left a small Texas town in shock after revealing that a fertilizer plant explosion was a “criminal act.”
Background Information about the Explosion
NBC News is reporting that, in 2013, a fertilizer plant in explosion in Texas resulted in the wrongful deaths of 15 people and destroyed hundreds of homes has been ruled a “criminal act,” by federal officials on Wednesday. The findings on the accident have been revealed to the public by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, who were investigating the origin of the fatal fire and explosion that happened at West Fertilizer Company on April 17, 2013, in the rural town of West.
As a result of the fire and initial explosion, 500 homes were destroyed as people living in the area desperately tried to flee the scene of the explosion. West is primarily a farming community with a population of only about 2,800 people.
The force of the explosion was equivalent to that of a 2.1-magnitude earthquake. A 93-foot wide and a 12-foot deep crater was created at the epicenter of the explosion. The explosion was caused by a fire in the plant, and was further fed by dangerous chemicals like ammonium nitrate.
A total of ten first responders and two volunteers were killed when they were working to fight the initial fire, just before the explosion happened at 8 p.m. local time.
Special Agent Robert Elder of the ATF revealed that the agency is currently offering a $50,000 reward to help find the person who is responsible for committing the crime, which has been determined to have been deliberate after the agency ruled out all natural causes.
At this time is it not certain who started the initial fire or why they started it, so it is definitely too early to file any murder charges. No arrests have been made at this point in connection with the explosion, but more than 400 interviews have been conducted as part of the investigation.