Green Room

First responder in West, Texas explosion arrested for “possession of destructive device”

posted at 1:42 pm on May 10, 2013 by

This is an unexpected development:

Texas authorities are launching a criminal investigation into last month’s deadly fertilizer distribution facility explosion in West, Texas, the Texas Department of Public Safety said Friday.

The announcement was made on the same day authorities arrested Bryce Reed, a West emergency volunteer who was a first-responder to the disaster.

Authorities have not tied the arrest to the deadly blast.

McLennan County sheriff’s records clerk Betty Duncan told CNN that Reed was arrested for possession of a destructive device, booked early Friday, and is in the custody of U.S. Marshals.

One thing might not have anything to do with the other; it could just be a coincidence.  On the other hand ….

On Monday, the state fire marshal’s office said it ruled out four potential causes: weather, natural causes, anhydrous ammonium, and ammonium nitrate in a rail car.

The fire began in the fertilizer and seed building, but authorities still were trying to figure out the exact spot, the fire marshal’s office said Monday.

The blast happened about 20 minutes after the first report of a fire at the fertilizer facility. It registered on seismographs as a magnitude-2.1 earthquake and could be felt 50 miles away.

Keep an eye on this story, perhaps especially on the federal involvement.  Until now, no one had intimated that this might be a deliberate act.

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