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West Explosion

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Lawmakers Want Answers In West Explosion

Updated: Wednesday, May 1 2013, 06:05 PM CDT

Two weeks ago today, the town of West was rocked by the fertilizer plant explosion.  Now, as investigators continue to  search for answers, eight Texas agencies were called to the State Capitol to begin the process of figuring out what happened, and preventing it from happening again. 

Rep. Joe Pickett, Chairman of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, presided over the hearing. 

He pressed representatives from the Department of Public Safety, the State Fire Marshall’s Office, the Texas Division of Emergency Management and other for answers. Pickett said people have a right to know if hazardous chemicals are in their community. 

But current policy does not require that people be notified of potential threats in their area.  It's what they called a "local-up approach" versus a "state-down approach".

As of today, investigators have conducted almost 300 interviews generated from over 160 leads, and they are sifting through 14.9 acres to reconstruct the plant from scratch. 

State Fire Marshall Chris Connealy said they started at the outer perimeter and worked their way into the blast site where they are currently.  More than 12,000 personnel hours have been carried out so far in the search for answers, and ATF will have invested a million dollars into the investigation by the time it is done. 

So far, they have ruled out a rail car and anhydrous ammonia as the cause of the explosion, and they say they have no credible evidence to believe it is terrorism.  But investigators will be operating under a state criminal search warrant until the investigation is complete.  They hope to have an answer by May 10th.

By Hunter Ellis

Lawmakers Want Answers In West Explosion


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