ATF Says 2013 West Fertilizer Plant Explosion That Killed 15 People Was a Criminal Act

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The explosion that killed 15 people in West three years ago was caused by an intentionally set fire, ATF investigators announced today.

The agency is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. It won’t say whether there are suspects.

Tests prove that the fire, which originated in the seed building, was deliberately set, according to the ATF.

The West Fertilizer Co. exploded just 14 minutes after the first 911 call on April 17, 2013, killing 15 people, injuring more than 260, and devastating a large section of town.

The blast destroyed homes, schools, apartments and a nursing home. Had it happened earlier in the day, with school in session, hundreds more people would likely have been killed and injured, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board concluded in January.

Fire investigators had previously narrowed the cause of the blast to three possibilities: electrical wiring, a short-circuited golf cart or arson.

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SOURCE: Houston Chronicle, Mark Collette