Update from West, TX fertalizer plant explosion press conference

Thursday, May 16, 2013 - 5:00pm

Officials held a press conference on Thursday to discuss the preliminary findings in the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion investigation.

At this time the state fire marshals say the cause of the explosion is "undetermined."

This decision is made when an "acceptable level of certainty, either because of insufficient information or if other causes can not be eliminated.'

Eliminated causes of explosion:

  • Rekindling
  • Spontaneous ignition (480 system)
  • Ammonia Nitrate
  • Smoking
  • Weather

Can not be eliminated:

  • 120 Volt electrical system
  • Golf cart (battery powered can cause fire)
  • Intentionally set fire

Bryce Reed, a first responder, was arrested on charges of possession of destructive device, but they will not speculate as to any connection to the explosion.

Authorities say this is a criminal investigation and the furthest piece of evidence was two-and-a-half miles away.

Most of the evidence was found within a 3,000 foot radius.

The crater caused by the explosion was 10 feet deep.

The fire began in the fertilizer and seed building in northern part of the building also known as the "seed room."

The fire caused two explosions, a small one and a big one. Most witnesses would register the explosions as one.

28 - 34 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded.

There was a lot more that did not explode.

There were also some in a rail car that was a victim of the fire, but did not explode.

150 tons total were on site at the time of the incident.

The ammonium nitrate that exploded was equivalent to between 15,000 and 20,000 tons of TNT.

Water that was used during firefighting activities did not contribute to the explosion.



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