Texas Fertilizer Explosion Set On Purpose: Feds
A Texas fertilizer plant explosion that leveled most of a small town days after the Boston Marathon Bombing was intentionally set, ATF investigators said Wednesday.
The April 17, 2013 explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. in West, Texas was sparked by a fire that ignited tons of ammonia nitrate stored at the plant. It killed 15 people, mostly first-respondents, injured 260 others, and destroyed most of the buildings in the small rural town.
The blast caused a 2.1-magnitude earthquake and left a crater 93 feet wide and 12 feet deep.
“It was like a nuclear bomb went off,” West Mayor Tommy Muska said.
It was “massive — just like Iraq, just like the Murrah (Federal) Building in Oklahoma City,” said D.L. Wilson of the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Investigators have now proven the fire, which originated in the company’s seed building, was deliberately set. ATF officials have labeled the explosion a “criminal act.”
The Texas blast took place two days after the Boston Marathon bombing of April 15, 2013. That day is celebrated in Massachusetts as Patriot’s Day, commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.
The terrorist attack occurred when two pressure-cooker bombs exploded near the finish line of the race. Chechen-Muslim brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev were later identified as the two who set off the bombs.
ATF Special Agent in Charge Robert Elder would not comment on if they have a suspect, but the agency is “headed in the right direction.”
The ATF is offering US$50,000 for information leading to whomever set the blaze.