Tribpedia: West, Texas Explosion

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On April 17, 2013, a massive explosion devastated the Central Texas town of West, killing at least 14 people and wounding more than 200. The explosion emanated from the Adair Grain and West Fertilizer Company, a locally-owned business that blended and distributed fertilizers. The blast was huge. Buildings in immediate proximity — including an apartment complex, the town’s intermediate school ...

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West Ceremony: "We Were, and We Will Be"

Clad in traditional Czech garb, the West High School Jr. Historians perform a folk dance before the groundbreaking of the West Sokol gymnasium.The explosion of the West Fertilizer plant on April 17, 2013 destroyed the gymnasium and meeting hall that sat there before.
Clad in traditional Czech garb, the West High School Jr. Historians perform a folk dance before the groundbreaking of the West Sokol gymnasium.The explosion of the West Fertilizer plant on April 17, 2013 destroyed the gymnasium and meeting hall that sat there before.

Gov. Rick Perry and Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka helped break ground Thursday for a new gymnasium in West during a celebration of the town's rich traditions and efforts to recover from the April 2013 fertilizer explosion. 

A vehicle near the remains of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, near Waco.
A vehicle near the remains of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, near Waco.

Some Lawmakers Want Changes to Avoid Fertilizer Blasts

A committee of Texas lawmakers met Tuesday to discuss possible legislation aimed at preventing another disaster like last year’s explosion in West, Texas — with some Republicans still skeptical of imposing regulations on fertilizer storage facilities.

 

State Sen. Wendy Davis, the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor, addressing supporters on July 13, 2014, in East Austin.
State Sen. Wendy Davis, the 2014 Democratic nominee for governor, addressing supporters on July 13, 2014, in East Austin.

Davis Presses Attack on Abbott Over Chemical Plant Ruling

Wendy Davis, the Democratic nominee for governor, wrapped up her five-day “Texans Deserve to Know” tour on Saturday, calling Republican opponent Greg Abbott an “insider working for other insiders.” The Abbott campaign said Davis was misleading Texans.

State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy spoke during the West press conference at West High School and announced that the cause of the explosion is still undetermined.
State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy spoke during the West press conference at West High School and announced that the cause of the explosion is still undetermined.

Cause of West Explosion Remains Unclear

The cause of the West fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 people on April 17 has been ruled “undetermined,” officials announced at a press conference in the town's high school parking lot on Thursday. While an investigation into what triggered the blaze is ongoing, investigators’ examination of the scene has concluded. Because they cannot rule out an intentionally set fire, the matter is still considered a criminal investigation.

 

 

Texas Department of Public Safety patch worn on a uniform during an April 7, 2011 graduation ceremony in Austin.
Texas Department of Public Safety patch worn on a uniform during an April 7, 2011 graduation ceremony in Austin.

West Plant Blast Focus of Criminal Investigation

The Texas Rangers and the McLennan County sheriff's office are launching a criminal investigation into the fertilizer plant explosion last month in West.

The Gavilon facility in Amarillo sits near residences. Officials say that the ammonium nitrate on site is stored safely, so that it cannot explode.
The Gavilon facility in Amarillo sits near residences. Officials say that the ammonium nitrate on site is stored safely, so that it cannot explode.

After West Blast, Chemical Stockpiles Scrutinized

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As state and federal regulators analyze the patchwork of policies governing the fertilizer plant that exploded in West, the incident has prompted a closer look at communities that lie near stockpiles of chemicals.

State Rep. Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, votes to table an amendment to HB2694, the TCEQ sunset legislation on April 19, 2011.
State Rep. Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, votes to table an amendment to HB2694, the TCEQ sunset legislation on April 19, 2011.

Bill Would End TCEQ Compliance History Program

A program that gives the public information — albeit limited — about the compliance history of facilities overseen by the state's environmental agency would end under a bill House lawmakers will consider this week. In the aftermath of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, environmental groups say the measure is a mistake. 

 

Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd testified before the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee Wednesday about the response to the deadly April 17 fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX.
Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd testified before the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee Wednesday about the response to the deadly April 17 fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX.

Lawmakers Want Answers on West Explosion

A dozen officials from six different state agencies came before the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee on Wednesday to reflect on what worked and what didn't in the West fertilizer plant explosion. Despite the devastation, the head of the state's emergency management operations said that "the system worked."

Chief of DPS Emergency Management Nim Kidd, r, answers a question on the West, TX explosion on April 18, 2013.  Left to right are TCEQ head Zac Covar, Gov. Rick Perry, Kidd and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.
Chief of DPS Emergency Management Nim Kidd, r, answers a question on the West, TX explosion on April 18, 2013. Left to right are TCEQ head Zac Covar, Gov. Rick Perry, Kidd and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst.

West Explosion Raises Regulatory Questions

As investigators search for the cause of the explosion, environmentalists said that the situation highlighted lax regulations in Texas for plants handling dangerous chemicals — especially those located near schools. U.S. Sen. John Cornyn said that 60 people remain unaccounted for in the town, though many may be alive.

Gov. Rick Perry, r, answers a question on the West, TX disaster at DPS headquarters on April 18, 2013.
Gov. Rick Perry, r, answers a question on the West, TX disaster at DPS headquarters on April 18, 2013.

Officials Search for Answers After Explosion in West

The day after an explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled parts of the Central Texas town of West, officials and residents are still searching for answers about the tragedy that has left at least five people dead. Gov. Rick Perry, who is seeking a federal emergency declaration, said 75 homes had been affected.