West blast zone opened to legal teams for first time - KXXV Central Texas News Now


West blast zone opened to legal teams for first time

Monday was the first time the ATF turned over the West Explosion site to people who weren't part of a government agency.

Instead, a group of legal experts, representing law firms from all over the country, got a first hand look at the blast site that was turned over to Crane Engineering.

These lawyers work for the victims and the defendants, Adair Grain Incorporated and West Fertilizer Company.

Crane Engineering is a firm that specializes in industrial accidents and is supposed to be an independent firm.

One of those teams is the Society of St. Vincent De Paul Legal Team which Houston lawyer Charlie Musslewhite is a member of. He said it looked like a war zone.

"We had a full crew touring the facility. Every one of us was I think struck by the intense force of the disaster and the explosion and the way it unfolded."

That team includes five law firms from all over the country and their specialists. Their experts include electrical, structural and chemical engineers as well as authorities on explosions.

They were all there looking to answer the question. Why west?

Musslewhite says just from the initial walk through teams were already piecing together what happened based on their expertise. He says the walk through was an important accomplishment.

"It helped me to understand the massiveness of the explosion. It helped me understand a little bit about the possible chain of how the disaster unfolded," said Musslewhite.

The team of law firms he works with specializes in explosions and have worked cases like the B. P. Explosion and the 2010 West Virginia Mine Explosion. They're goal is to find out what the ATF couldn't, what caused that initial fire.

Musslewhite says this first walk through is just the beginning of a long intensive legal process. His team, along with others will sit down with crane engineering Tuesday to discuss protocol and what comes next.

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