4
| Crime |

West Explosion Caused By Intentionally Set Fire, ATF Says

^
Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

The 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West that killed 15 people, destroyed more than 500 homes and left a crater 93 feet wide and 12 feet deep was caused by a fire that was intentionally set, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Wednesday.

"We have eliminated all reasonable accidental and natural causes," Rob Elder, the special agent in charge of the ATF's Houston field division, said at a press conference held in the small Central Texas town Wednesday. 

The ATF determined some months ago that the blaze was criminally set but has held information back in order to protect the integrity of an ongoing investigation. Elder said the information was being released now to help catch the person or persons responsible for the deaths and destruction.

"We are headed in the right direction, and we are asking the public for help," he said.

The ATF is offering a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest, but Elder did not comment on what charges anyone accused of setting the fire might face, refusing to speculate as to any potential murder charges.

Elder also said his agency only investigated whether or not the fire was intentionally set and had no opinion as to whether the way in which fertilizer was stored at the plant might have affected the blast.

Anyone with any information regarding the blast is asked to call Waco Crime Stoppers at 254-753-4357.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.

 

Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.