Weather, rail car cargo exonerated
WEST, Texas — A rail car filled with extremely hazardous ammonium nitrate did not cause the fiery explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, investigators said on Tuesday, in their first statement ruling out possible sources of the deadly blast six days ago.
Fourteen people died in the explosion at West Fertilizer Co. last Wednesday, and about 200 were injured.
Investigators said they ruled out a weather event such as lightning as the cause of the fire and blast, and said they had narrowed down the possible sources to an accident, arson or an unexplained cause.
The repercussions of the blast increased, as the McLennan County district court said at least two lawsuits had been filed against the company's parent, Adair Grain. They were filed by a displaced resident of the town, and insurance companies representing businesses damaged by the blast.
Investigators had been extremely tight-lipped about what might have caused the explosion and inferno that wiped out parts of the town of West, Texas.
Attention had focused on the presence at the plant of large quantities of ammonium nitrate, a dry fertilizer mixed with other ingredients and applied to crops.
Ammonium nitrate also is a possible ingredient in a bomb and was used by Timothy McVeigh in 1995 to blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.
West Fertilizer disclosed to a Texas state agency that it had 270 tons of ammonium nitrate on hand at the plant last year. There also had been persistent rumors that a rail car delivered to the plant by Union Pacific full of ammonium nitrate might have caught on fire and caused the blast.
But Kelly Kistner, assistant Texas state fire chief, ruled out the rail car of ammonium nitrate as the cause.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Replacement part beamed up to space station
- Traffic deaths down 3 percent
- FBI blames North Korea for Sony hack
- Bondage ‘Master Bob’ Bashara convicted in wife’s slaying in Detroit area
- New York move to ban fracking heartens critics
- Bill to bolster federal record access goes without House vote
- Family of man shot dead by police in Ohio Wal-Mart sues
- Attorney General Holder, Justice Department target bias against transgender employees
- Feds design college ratings system
- Facebook could expand on ‘like’ button, CEO Zuckerberg says
- Life terms with no parole for young on docket of Supreme Court