CNN reports from West, TX, that “investigators are combing through the charred remains of a fertilizer distributor leveled by a massive explosion one week ago.” CNN continues, “Much of the landscape surrounding the West Fertilizer Co. in West, Texas, is unrecognizable,” but “amid the devastation, forensic mappers are hoping to find clues. Officials face a difficult task in reconstructing the fire that preceded the deadly explosion. Still unknown: what types of chemicals and in what quantities were stored at the facility. ATF Special Agent in Charge Robert Champion said determining what started the initial fire is ‘the key.’ ‘We feel the explosion was caused by the fire so we’ve got to determine what the cause and the origin of the fire was, and that’s why we’re … attempting to re-enact that fire scene,’ Champion said. ‘A fire scene is complicated in itself. But you compound that with an explosion and it really complicates the issue.’”
The Dallas Morning News reports, “Brian Hoback, an official with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, compared the investigation to collecting puzzle pieces.”
The Houston Chronicle reports that Hoback “described the blast site as a picture puzzle. ‘Right now, think of that coffee table where all 100 pieces are gathered around,’ Hoback said. ‘Now we’re going to pull them together.’”
Reuters reports that hundreds attended a funeral for a Texas firefighter who was killed in the blast.
Insurance group says explosion losses likely to exceed $100 million. The AP reports from West, TX, “The damage to surrounding homes and businesses caused by an explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant was estimated Wednesday to exceed $100 million, as crews continued to sift through a 90-foot-wide crater searching for answers.” The AP adds, “The Insurance Council of Texas released its estimate after speaking to numerous adjusters and agents in West, Texas, where officials and displaced residents are working to rebuild after last week’s blast. The explosion killed at least 14 people, injured 200 and damaged dozens of buildings.” The AP adds, “Investigators have not determined what started the blast or whether it was intentional. At least two lawsuits have been filed against Adair Grain Inc., which operated the West Fertilizer plant.”
From the American Association for Justice news release.