Texas Fire Marshal, ATF conclude scene investigation into West fertilizer plant explosion
The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives National Response Team (ATF), along with ATF Special Agents from the Houston Field Division, have concluded their scene investigation at the West Fertilizer Plant fire and explosion that occurred on April 17, 2013. Both agencies have ruled the cause of the fire as “undetermined.”
“At this time, the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the ATF are ruling the cause of the fire as undetermined,” said State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy. According to Connealy, an undetermined cause finding is made “when the cause cannot be proven to an acceptable level of certainty, which could be due to insufficient information or if multiple causes could not be eliminated." Connealy further stated that “while the scene examination has been completed, the investigation will remain open for purposes of conducting additional interviews, following up on leads, and the like.”
Robert Champion, ATF Special Agent in Charge, said, “ATF and SFMO had eliminated the following causes: rekindling of an earlier fire, spontaneous ignition, 480 volt electrical system, anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate, smoking, and weather. The following causes could not be eliminated: 120 volt electrical system, a golf cart, and an intentionally set fire.”
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