Tribpedia: West, Texas Explosion

On April 17, 2013, a massive explosion devastated the Central Texas town of West, killing 15 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 and the ...

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.

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

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 — with some 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.

 

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.

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

While not downplaying the devastation of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, the head of the state's emergency management operations told lawmakers on Wednesday that "the system worked."

 

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.

After West, First Responders Scholarship Fund Announced

Inspired by the efforts of first responders during the recent bombing in Boston and the fertilizer plant explosion in West, the College Board on Wednesday announced the creation of a First Responders Scholarship Fund.

 

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.