Fire chief urges changes ahead of West anniversary

Posted at 2:43 PM, Apr 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-14 15:44:13-04

Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The state fire marshal wants 46 facilities that store ammonium nitrate in Texas to make safety improvements following the deadly West fertilizer plant explosion last year.

State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy on Monday proposed new building requirements ahead of this week's anniversary of the April 17 blast at West Fertilizer Co.

Fifteen people were killed and another 200 were injured after tons of ammonium nitrate exploded into a massive fireball. The fertilizer plant had stored the chemical in flammable wooden containers.

Most of the dead were firefighters and first responders.

Connealy testified to a House committee that facilities similar to West Fertilizer should be given three years to either install sprinklers or retrofit their buildings to mitigate the potential for explosions.

But lawmakers are already warning of industry pushback.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.