Cause of fire that triggered Texas, blast still unknown

May 17, 2013 00:49

WEST, Texas - The cause of the fire that triggered a massive explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant remains undetermined and an investigation is continuing, State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said on Thursday.

The West Fertilizer Co facility, which supplied fertilizer to area farmers, exploded on April 17 about 20 minutes after a fire was reported at the plant. The blast badly damaged a residential area including an apartment building, nursing home and school.

Most of the 14 dead were firefighters and paramedics who responded to the initial fire. Some 200 people were injured.

The plant stored anhydrous ammonia, a liquid fertilizer, as well as ammonium nitrate, a dry fertilizer that can ignite in certain conditions. Ammonium nitrate was an ingredient in the device used in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

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