ATF investigating Texas plant explosion

ATF taking lead on investigation of explosion that occurred in West, Texas

Author: Robert Arnold, Investigative Reporter, rarnold@kprc.com
Published On: Apr 18 2013 07:28:53 PM CDT
ATF
WEST, Texas -

The bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Forearms' national response team descended on the small town of West, Texas late Thursday morning.

Agents bring with them sophisticated thermal imaging and forensic mapping tools that can help pin point the path of a fire back to a cause.

"No, at this point we don't know, that is something we'll look at, as whether that was criminal activity or a fire that was sparked by a chemical reaction," said a Waco police officer.

Along with the ATF, investigators with the state Fire Marshal's office are working the scene of the blast.

Investigators with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will also monitor the chemicals blasted into the air by the explosion, and if they are causing any long term hazards beyond the blast radius.

Also working on the cause of the blast is investigators with the Chemical Safety Board. Their focus will be to determine whether what caused the fire and explosion could be a potential danger to other chemical companies storing these type of chemicals.

As for the company itself, no one has spoken publicly, but police said officials have been helping investigators.

"They have been here this morning. I'm guessing they're still here," said a Waco police officer. "I don't know that information, because I'm not there in the incident command. They have been here, and they have been helpful, instrumental in telling the on ground crews what potential threats they may face while they're there."