Thursday, May 12, 2016

Texas-Sized Disaster, Criminal Edition

So remember the fertilizer plant in Texas that exploded three years ago, killed 15 people, and injured scores more?  The one that hadn't been inspected in years, and should have been flagged to the Department of Homeland Security as a potential threat because of tons of stored fertilizer that could detonate?  Where the plant owner deliberately avoided telling the feds about the stored and possibly deadly fertilizer that could explode?

Turns out that, after a multiple-year investigation into the plant accident, that it wasn't an accident at all.  The BATFE announced on Wednesday that this is being treated as a deliberate, criminal act.

A 2013 fertilizer plant blast in Texas that killed 15 people and injured 160 others was caused by a "criminal act," federal officials said Wednesday. 
The findings were revealed in a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigation into the origin of the deadly fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. on April 17, 2013, in the town of West. 
The explosion flattened the rural farming community of 2,800 people, just north of Waco, turning some 500 homes into rubble as people tried desperately to flee the horrific scene. The force felt was equivalent to that of a magnitude-2.1 earthquake, and a 93-foot-wide crater scarred the site of the fertilizer plant, where dangerous chemicals, including ammonium nitrate, were stored. 
ATF Special Agent Robert Elder said the agency is offering a $50,000 reward to help find the person who committed the crime, which was determined to be deliberate after "we ruled out all accidental and natural causes." But he could not say why someone would have set the fire. 
"I think it's too early to speculate on murder charges," Elder added. 
No arrests have been made, but more than 400 interviews have been conducted amid the investigation, Elder said.

If the plant's stored fertilizer was set on fire on purpose, this isn't an accident, it's an act of domestic terrorism that killed 15 people and nearly destroyed an entire town.

It's bad enough that all the safety precautions that should have prevented the explosion were ignored or never in place due to Texas ignoring the issue of worker safety.  But for this to be a deliberate fire to cause the explosion?  That's hideous.

After 3 years, who knows where the suspects may be?

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