Agencies Narrow Down Possible Cause of Fire at West Fertilizer C - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Agencies Narrow Down Possible Cause of Fire at West Fertilizer Co.

The state and federal agencies work at the West Fertilizer Co. is complete, but the investigation continues. This includes the possibility the fire was intentionally set. State and federal experts said they are trying to find the cause of that fire, and it's like completing a puzzle without all the pieces. 

The State Fire Marshals Office says the cause is undetermined, but this doesn't mean the investigation is over. The state agency is looking at three possible ways the fire may have started.

"We are going to leave no stone unturned to make sure everything that we can do to determine on what caused that fire," said Chris Connealy, State Fire Marshal.

With over 20 agencies involved in the million dollar plus investigation, authorities found enough evidence to rule out every other possible cause. The golf cart in question may have been recalled because of battery problems.

"The golf cart was in the seed room and that's where it's normally parked," said Kelly Kistner, Assistant State Fire Marshal. "We only found two pieces dispute earlier articles that went out today. It was not a brake pedal, it was a brake pad and we found an axle."

And there's still the possibility the fire was intentionally set.

"From the beginning of this investigation, the ATF, State Fire Marshals Office and the McLennan County Sheriff's Office were involved and have maintained this as a criminal investigation," said Kistner.

Finally, the electric system in the fertilizer and seed room.

West Mayor Pro-tem Steve Vanek is hopeful for an answer, and praises agencies working hard to figure out a cause.

"I personally think they are right on, and of course they are the smart guys. They know what's going on, and those guys are sharp, sharp," said Vanek. "So, I agree with what they said and I would never contradict them in anyway."

But West residents are looking to move past this and rebuild.

"I think, and I speak for a lot of people when I say this," said West resident Sarah Cook. "We don't need closure. I mean I feel like we know that it happened, and we need to move on and I think a lot of people share that thought. We are really pulling it together and rebuilding."

The explosion could have been a lot worse. The State Fire Marshal's Office said 28 to 34 tons of ammonium nitrate blew up, but another 20 to 30 tons stored nearby and 100 tons in a rail car did not explode.



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