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Author Topic: West Fertilizer Co., West, TX Explosion-15 Dead, Over 200 Wounded  (Read 99920 times)
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MuffyBee
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« Reply #360 on: October 11, 2015, 09:44:14 PM »

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/10/11/families-of-firefighters-killed-in-west-explosion-reach-settlement/
Families Of 3 Firefighters Killed In West Explosion Reach Settlement
UPDATED | October 11, 2015 7:09 PM

WEST (CBSDFW.COM) — The families of three firefighters killed in the West fertilizer plant explosion reached a settlement agreement Sunday. The agreement came just hours before jury selection was set to begin for a trial Monday.
Phone calls started going out to hundreds of potential jurors Sunday, telling them not to report to jury duty for the case Monday. However, the agreement does not affect the cases of hundreds of other plaintiffs who have filed suit over the April 2013 explosion.
The blast killed 15 people and destroyed homes, schools and a nearby nursing home. The community is rebuilding, with a new combined high school and middle school set to open in fall 2016.
The first trial was supposed to include the families of Kevin Sanders, William Uptmor and Kenneth Harris, who was a Dallas firefighter. Terms of the agreement were not immediately available. Attorneys were said to be still finalizing paperwork late Sunday afternoon.
McClennan County updated its court site with a message to potential jurors Sunday evening. “A settlement has been reached covering the portions of the cases you were summoned for,” it read in part.
 
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« Reply #361 on: April 17, 2016, 09:20:50 PM »

http://www.kwtx.com/content/news/Prayer-service-tonight-for-West-explosion-anniversary-375994981.html
Prayer service Sunday for West fertilizer plant explosion victims
By Brandon Marshall | Posted: Sun 1:27 PM, Apr 17, 2016  |  Updated: Sun 3:13 PM, Apr 17, 2016


WEST, TX (KWTX) A memorial service will be held at St. Mary's Church of the Assumption Sunday at 7 p.m. in West to remember those killed in the fertilizer plant explosion on April 17, 2013.

During the service, a moment of silence will take place for the victims and others injured in the explosion.

The blast destroyed the plant, and much of the town for miles around the site, injuring over 200 and killing 15 people, 12 of those first responders.
 


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« Reply #362 on: May 11, 2016, 01:15:52 PM »

http://www.ksat.com/news/texas/cause-of-deadly-texas-fertilizer-blast-to-be-revealed_
ATF: Arson caused deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West
'It was like a nuclear bomb went off,' mayor says

May 11, 2016

Authorities say the fire that caused the deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant in 2013 was a criminal act.

Federal and state investigators said Wednesday that they're investigating who was responsible for causing the fire at the West Fertilizer Co. facility on April 17, 2013, in the town of West.

The fire caused ammonium nitrate to ignite, triggering a massive explosion that killed 15 people, injured hundreds and left part of the small town in ruins.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board and the state fire marshal's office previously issued reports faulting the storage of the fertilizer, emergency response and other factors contributing to a blast, which registered as an earthquake of magnitude 2.1.

But authorities hadn't previously indicated what specifically caused the fire.
 

Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office revealed the cause of fire to be arson.


Families of the those killed have struggled to find answers to what happened on April 17, 2013.

That night, a fire broke out at the West Fertilizer Co. in the town of West, about 70 miles south of Dallas. Twenty minutes later, the plant exploded with such force it caused a magnitude-2.1 earthquake.

"It was like a nuclear bomb went off," West Mayor Tommy Muska said.

A deafening boom echoed for miles. The blast stripped a 50-unit apartment complex of its walls and windows.

It was "massive -- just like Iraq, just like the Murrah (Federal) Building in Oklahoma City," said D.L. Wilson of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The blast also left a crater almost 100 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

Twelve emergency responders were among the 15 people killed. The explosion wounded another 200 people in the town of 2,800.

 

About a month after the blast, the state fire marshal's office said four potential causes -- weather, natural causes, anhydrous ammonium, and ammonium nitrate in a rail car -- had been eliminated.

But State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said investigators were not able to rule out three possible causes, including a spark from a golf cart, an electrical short or an intentionally set fire.

The West Fertilizer Co., which operated the facility, had warned state and local officials but not federal agencies that it had 270 tons of highly volatile ammonium nitrate on site, according to regulatory records.

The company had been cited by federal regulators twice since 2006.

A U.S. Chemical Safety Board investigation concluded the explosion was preventable, board chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso said on the one-year anniversary of the blast.

The investigation blamed the company that owned the fertilizer plant, government regulators and other authorities for the catastrophe.

"It resulted from the failure of a company to take the necessary steps to avert a preventable fire and explosion and from the inability of federal, state and local regulatory agencies to identify a serious hazard and correct it," Moure-Eraso said.

 
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« Reply #363 on: May 11, 2016, 01:18:33 PM »

May 11, 2016 Tweets

twitter.com/@ATFHQ


TF HQ ‏@ATFHQ  4m4 minutes ago
ATF: Those with info on deadly West Fertilizer Plant fire contact 254-753-HELP or http://www.wacocrimestoppers.org
 
 ATF HQ ‏@ATFHQ  23m23 minutes ago
"It is our highest priority to give victims of this tragedy an accurate explanation of what happened that day" in West, ATF Houston SAC

 ATF HQ ‏@ATFHQ  31m31 minutes ago
Technical difficulties impacting the live feed of the West, TX announcement, video & more info to come soon.

 ATF HQ ‏@ATFHQ  31m31 minutes ago
ATF Houston says more than 400 interviews conducted, $2 million spent on investigation of West, TX fire.

 ATF HQ ‏@ATFHQ  33m33 minutes ago
BREAKING: ATF Fire Research Lab determines West Fertilizer plant fire intentionally set.

 ATF HQ ‏@ATFHQ  44m44 minutes ago
BREAKING: ATF announces $50K reward in West Fertilizer fire.
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« Reply #364 on: May 11, 2016, 01:25:48 PM »

http://kxan.com/2016/05/10/officials-expect-to-announce-origin-and-cause-of-west-fertilizer-explosion/
Cause of West Fertilizer explosion ruled a criminal act
Published: May 10, 2016, 9:58 pm  Updated: May 11, 2016, 12:54 pm

WEST, Texas (KXAN) — State Fire Marshals have just announced the deadly West Fertilizer Plant explosion fire from April 2013 was a criminal act and ruled incendiary.

It’s been three years since an ammonium nitrate explosion in West, Texas. On April 17, 2013, 15 people died, 12 were first responders.

Wednesday, the Houston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office announced the origin and cause of the plant fire and explosion. At this time investigators have funneled over $2 million into the case and say they are on the right path to solving the West explosion. This is ATF’s largest investigation to date.

However, it is too early for investigators to say if murder charges await a suspect accused of starting the fire. So far no arrests have been made, but numerous leads have resulted from more than 500 interviews.

Anyone with any information about the explosion is asked to call (245)753-2457. There is up to a $52,000 reward waiting for information that leads to an arrest.

“In addition to 15 deaths, many others were injured. The explosion caused damage in a 37 block area. 500 homes were damaged. A crater 93 wide and 12 feet deep was created at the scene of the blast,” said Robert Elder with ATF.
 
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« Reply #365 on: January 25, 2018, 08:59:22 AM »

http://kxan.com/2018/01/25/town-devastated-by-2013-fertilizer-plant-blast-reaches-deal/
Town devastated by 2013 fertilizer plant blast reaches deal
January 25, 2018

WEST, Texas (AP) — A Central Texas town devastated by a 2013 fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people, many of them emergency personnel, has reached a settlement of its lawsuit for damages caused by the blast.

The city council in West this week approved of accepting $10.44 million to settle its claims against the defendants, including makers and suppliers of ammonium nitrate, the explosive fertilizer involved in the blast, and Adair Grain Inc., owner of the fertilizer plant itself.

In a statement Wednesday, Mayor Tommy Muska said he is pleased with the settlement.

Attorney Steve Harrison, who represented the city, said manufacturer CF Industries will pay $6.4 million, supplier El Dorado Chemical will pay $3.9 million and Adair Grain will pay $143,000.

Settlements had been reached previously with families of victims and West Rest Haven, a nursing home badly damaged by the blast. Those settlements were confidential.
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« Reply #366 on: May 17, 2018, 06:58:16 PM »

https://www.statesman.com/news/pruitt-rescinding-safety-rules-prompted-fatal-plant-blast/J51RV0o7JWIxZLI6VddKPI/
Pruitt rescinding safety rules prompted by fatal plant blast
May 17, 2018

WASHINGTON —
Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt moved Thursday to rescind much of a package of safety measures proposed for chemical plants nationwide after a deadly blast at a Texas fertilizer plant.

Pruitt signed a significantly revised slate of rules from the Obama era on safety and risk management at 12,500 U.S. facilities, including chemical plants and refineries. A chemical manufacturing group welcomed the changes, while spokesman Alex Formuzis of the Environmental Working Group called them a "hollowing out" of the original safety upgrades.

The rules were prompted by a 2013 explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, that killed 15 people, including 10 firefighters. The blast ripped open a 90-foot-wide crater and hurled debris for miles.

Pruitt's changes eliminate several of the original requirements concerning safety training, accident prevention and accident investigations.

The revised version signed by Pruitt also would remove a requirement that members of the public who ask the plants should receive information about any chemical risks and community emergency plans.

That change "would make it harder for those living near these plants to get basic information" about any dangers posed, said Eric Schaeffer, director of the Washington-based Environmental Integrity Project nonprofit.

In a statement, Pruitt said the revised slate of proposed rules "reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens."

"Accident prevention is a top priority at EPA, and this proposed rule will ensure proper emergency planning and continue the trend of fewer significant accidents involving chemicals," Pruitt said.

The central Texas town's fire department was staffed by volunteers who had no formal training or planning to prepare them for a fire or emergency at the fertilizer plant, an investigation by the U.S. Chemical Safety Board found.

As the blaze engulfed the plant, firefighters rushed in to contain it and remained despite at least one warning to evacuate, a state fire marshal's report found. They began backing out only moments before the ammonium nitrate exploded.

Pruitt signed the rule surrounded by onlookers, including chemical-industry representatives. The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, which said in a statement it had opposed the initial version of the regulation proposed by the Obama administration, applauded the revision signed Thursday, saying it modified a requirement for outside audits of risk-management plans and other rules that the chemical manufacturers group had objected to.

The Trump administration will solicit public comment on the proposed rules before it makes final decisions on enacting them.
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« Reply #367 on: May 27, 2018, 02:59:56 PM »

http://www.kwtx.com/content/news/Car-show-helps-struggling-ambulance-team-in-West--483802611.html
West: Car show helps struggling ambulance team in West
May 26, 2018

 
Proceeds from the area's second Small Town Showdown Car Show will go to the organization that responded to calls for help after the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in 2013.

Reed says four EMTs in training died that night. They rushed from taking their final exam to the scene of the blast.

"They have not fully recovered since the blast, and we are here to help them because any one of us could need an ambulance anytime of the day and night,” says Mayor Pro-Tem and co- chairman of the event Stevie Vanek.

Since the explosion, the volunteer response team has dwindled from 50 to less than twenty members.

"We are kind of struggling as a volunteer organization," says Reed.

"People don't want to volunteer anymore."

In addition to the staffing issues, contributions that once helped keep the organization running are no longer coming in.

"Our call volume has stayed, but the donations have declined, and we've had a little hard time with that," he adds.

However, more than 325 car owners answered that call for help on the streets of downtown West Saturday.

The organization's board will determine how the funds from the entry fees are spent, but Reed says they will likely go to the education and recruitment of the volunteers they need.

"I've been kind of emotional all day," he smiles.

"I'm in awe of all the people that turned out just to help."

With this injection of funds, the team hopes to quickly transition to stable condition.

"You want to make sure the citizens of this town are covered- that's the main thing that keeps us going," says Reed.

"And we'll continue doing it until we're told not to."
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« Reply #368 on: May 27, 2018, 03:06:22 PM »

http://www.kwtx.com/content/news/West-Bank-mural-marks-125-years-of-service-history-in-Czech-town-483763961.html
West: Bank mural marks 125 years of service, history in Czech town
Posted May 25, 2018, Updated May 26, 2018

WEST, Texas (KWTX) A bank in West is celebrating 125 years with $125 donations and a priceless new piece of art.

POINTWEST Bank celebrated its 125th anniversary Friday by unveiling a large mural that highlights all things ‘West’ from WestFest, Czech heritage and polka, to the community’s more tragic history with a special square promising to never forget those killed in the West Fertilizer Co. Explosion on April 17, 2013.

K. Dunks Creative commissioned the artwork.

Bank officials encouraged people to come take pictures in front of the mural at 215 Washington Street and post the photos using #PWBCommunityMatters.

After the unveiling, the bank presented several West organizations with checks including West EMS, West Fire, and West Police.

 
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