State: Dozens of facilities similar to West plant

Posted at 9:39 AM, May 01, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-01 10:40:42-04

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - State emergency officials say the West Fertilizer plant where an explosion killed 14 people this month was under no obligation to have an evacuation plan.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw told lawmakers Wednesday there are more than 1,100 facilities statewide that store ammonium nitrate. The fertilizer plant in West reported it could store as much as 270 tons of the chemical in February.

Investigators say they still don't know what caused the massive explosion April 17 in the rural farming town.

State officials also told the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee they have identified more than 40 similar fertilizer blending facilities in Texas.

The packed hearing inside the Capitol was the first legislative inquiry since the blast that also injured 200 people.

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