NewsThe West Explosion: A Decade Later


TIME LINE: A deeper look at the West explosion

West Explosion Time Line
Posted at 9:06 PM, Apr 16, 2023

From the first sign of trouble – to the deadly blast – mere minutes passed.

At roughly 7:29 p.m., residents and a West police officer report smoke at the West Fertilizer Company.

The officer then confirmed flames in the facility's storage building and notified the West Volunteer Fire Department.

As firefighters are dispatched to the scene a police officer begins evacuating the nearby city park. Other emergency responders report to nearby neighborhoods to alert residents.

West explosion animation

West fire officials at the scene begin battling flames, as other volunteer firefighters in town for training also respond when the city's sirens are activated.

Just 20 minutes after the initial reports of smoke, the west fertilizer company explodes.
15 people die – 12 of them are first responders.

More than 200 other people are hurt. Dozens of buildings were damaged or destroyed stretching more than a half-mile away – including schools, a nursing home, houses, and an apartment complex.

Three years after the fire in 2013, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announces investigators believe the fire was intentionally set, with all other possible causes eliminated.

A decade later though, there's still no arrests in the case, and a $50,000 dollar reward remains unclaimed.