Criminal activity not ruled out in plant explosion

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by NOMAAN MERCHANT and JIM VERTUNO

Associated Press

Posted on May 16, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Updated Thursday, May 16 at 10:22 PM

WEST, Texas (AP) --  Authorities say investigators have completed their scene investigation but not ruled out criminal activity as the cause of a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant that killed at least 14 people and flattened part of the small town.

The April 17 blast at West Fertilizer injured 200 and leveled part of the tiny town of West. Officials have spent one month combing through debris and speaking to hundreds of witnesses.

State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said Thursday that officials are ruling the cause of the fire that triggered two nearly simultaneous explosions as undetermined.

Investigators estimated that between 28 and 34 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded. There were about 150 tons of the chemical on the site, including 100 tons in a rail car that did not explode.

 

 

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