West Plant Explosion

West Plant Explosion
2:14 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Officials to Announce Results from Investigation into West Explosion

Officials are expected to announce the results of their investigation into the April 17 fertilizer plan explosion in West, Texas on Thursday.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

State Fire Marshal's Office and ATF officials Thursday will announce the final results of their investigation into the fertilizer plant explosion in West.

The April 17 explosion killed 15 people and injured hundreds.

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West Plant Explosion
4:32 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

West Responder Arrested for Possession of 'Destructive Device' (Update)

The West memorial service at Baylor University.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: The “destructive device” Bryce Reed was said to possess was a pipe bomb.

U.S. District Court charging documents for Bryce Reed state that on May 7, an unnamed person called the Sheriff’s Office regarding components Reed had left with them – components an ATF agent says form a pipe bomb.  You can read the documents here.

Update (11:56 a.m.): StateImpact Texas notes there are now two investigations into the West plant explosion: one existing investigation into the origin and cause of the fire, lead by the State Fire Marshall’s Office office and the ATF; and the new, DPS-helmed investigation into any potential criminal activity, spurred by the arrest of West paramedic Bryce Reed. 

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West Plant Explosion
8:18 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Officials: Ammonium Nitrate Exploded at West Fertilizer Plant

Investigators in front of an apartment complex near the West Fertilizer Plant.
facebook.com/pages/Texas-State-Fire-Marshal

The State Fire Marshal’s Office has determined ammonium nitrate stored at the West Fertilizer Plant is what exploded last month. But investigators are still trying to figure out what caused the fire that led to that explosion.

As KUT News learned in a conversation with UT Austin chemistry professor David Vandenbout:

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Food
6:35 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Bake Sales to Help West This Weekend

Austinites baking for Japanese tsunami relief in 2011. A similar effort is happening Saturday to help victims of the explosion in West.
Mary Helen Leonard at http://www.flickr.com/photos/drstrangeglove/5588916543/

The recovery effort continues in West, where a fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people last month and destroyed dozens of homes.

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Texas
5:07 pm
Wed May 1, 2013

DPS Official: State Doesn't Enforce Safety Regs at Plants

A House committee is looking into regulations at sites such as chemical plants.
KUT News

Two weeks ago, a fire ignited at a fertilizer plant in the small Central Texas town of West, and 20 minutes later, a massive explosion killed 15 people. More than 200 were injured and nearly 150 homes destroyed.

Thursday, Texas lawmakers questioned state agencies that had oversight over the plant, but they didn’t get many answers.

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Texas
7:19 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

U.S. Senate to Probe West Fertilizer Plant Explosion

KP Tripathi/Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/kptripathi/5953182596/

The United States Senate will hold a hearing into the fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) announced Monday. Sen. Boxer chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee.

“I cannot rest until we get to the bottom of what caused the disaster in West, Texas and the tragic loss of life," Sen. Boxer said in a statement. "We must ensure that facilities like the one in West are complying with chemical safety laws. We will look at how the laws on the books are being enforced and whether there is a need to strengthen them."

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West Plant Explosion
2:44 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Three of Four West ISD School Buildings Must be Partly to Fully Demolished After Explosion

Three of West ISD's four school buildings sustained major damage in the explosion.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Two school buildings in the city of West will have to be demolished because of damage from the deadly fertilizer plant explosion there nearly two weeks ago.

That’s what the Huckabee Architecture Engineering and Management Firm told West School District officials last night.

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West Plant Explosion
2:39 pm
Mon April 29, 2013

How Austin is Helping West, TX – And How You Can Too (Update)

As citizens from West continue to rebuild, events and charities in Austin continue to contribute to victims' relief efforts.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

As families begin the long rebuilding process in West, Texas,  relief efforts are still in full swing. But while the community of West may no longer need blood or clothes or supplies – for the moment, at least – they still need money. The town incurred an estimated $100 million in damages following the fertilizer plant explosion.

To continue our coverage of ways Austinites can help those in West, here is an updated list of some West charities, events and benefit programs:

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West Plant Explosion
8:00 am
Mon April 29, 2013

After the Explosion: West Remembers and 'Rises Up'

The town cleans up in the days following the fertilizer plant explosion.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A memorial service is scheduled today in West for two brothers killed in the fertilizer plant explosion. Douglas and Robert Snokhous were both captains with the West Volunteer Fire Department.

A total of 12 emergency responders died in the blast. Services for some of the others killed are planned for later this week.

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Politics
4:50 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Democrats Invoke Boston, West To Defend Government's Role

Last week, FBI investigators and a Watertown, Mass., police officer investigate the scene near the boat where bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding. Democrats have argued that the way the government responded to the Boston attacks makes a case for not cutting too deeply.
Kevork Djansezian Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 26, 2013 4:23 pm

President Obama has spoken at two memorial services in just over a week — one for victims of the Boston Marathon attack and one for those who died in the chemical plant explosions in West, Texas. In both speeches, he focused on victims and survivors.

But other Democrats are using these events to talk about another subject: the role of government.

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West Plant Explosion
7:53 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Photos: Remembering the First Responders Killed in West

The helmets of the first responders killed in the explosion were carried in a procession.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

Click on the player to listen to the story as it aired on KUT 90.5.

More than 9,000 people gathered at Baylor University yesterday to honor the twelve firefighters and first responders who died in the West Fertilizer Plant Explosion.

KUT’s Terrence Henry traveled to Waco to tell us about the memorial service Thursday.  

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West Plant Explosion
4:38 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Texas Town Honors Dead From Fertilizer Plant Blast

President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attend a memorial service at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, on Thursday, for those killed in the April 17 explosion of a fertilizer plant.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 25, 2013 4:37 pm

West, Texas, said goodbye to 14 people, including 10 firefighters and first responders, who were killed in the April 17 explosion of a fertilizer plant that leveled part of the town.

President Obama attended a memorial service on Thursday to console the grieving families. He said the "tragedy has simply revealed who you've always been."

He told the audience of about 10,000 gathered at Baylor University's Ferrell Center in Waco that the country would help the community rebuild.

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West Plant Explosion
1:56 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Timeline: Memorial for West, TX Blast Victims (Update)

One scene of destruction in West, Texas.
facebook.com/TexasAttorneyGeneral

Update: The memorial for West has concluded. For an overview of the ceremony, see NPR's take: "Texas Town Honors Dead From Fertilizer Plant Blast."

Original Post: A memorial service for the victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, is being held at Waco's Baylor University today.

Scheduled to speak: Gov. Rick Perry, Baylor University President Ken Starr, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, and Pres. Barack Obama.

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Austin
4:30 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

New Report: West Explosion Destroyed 142 Homes

The explosion last week destroyed or damaged hundreds of homes.
facebook.com/TexasAttorneyGeneral

The blast damage from an explosion in West was more extensive than authorities first thought.

Initial estimates pegged the number of homes destroyed at about 50, but a report from the Texas Department of Public Safety now says 142 homes were destroyed.

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West Plant Explosion
1:57 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Looking for West, TX Benefits in Austin?

Benefits this week will go to organizations like the American Red Cross to support relief efforts following the explosion in West last week.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

For now, those rebuilding the community in West, Texas following last week’s fertilizer plant explosion don’t need clothing or blood donations – they’ve received a massive outpouring of support from the Central Texas area and beyond.

What they need is money.

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Texas
7:29 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Some West Residents Still Waiting to Return Home

KUT News

Some residents in the town of West are still waiting to return home as building inspectors go house to house, making sure the residences are safe to re-occupy after last week’s explosion at a fertilizer plant. The blast killed 14 people, 12 of them first responders. 

The Mayor Pro-Tem of West, Steve Vanek, is asking people to be patient.   

“It is not safe," Vanek said at an afternoon news conference. "We do have engineers and building inspectors on the ground determining which houses are safe and which are not.”

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West Plant Explosion
8:36 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Gov. Perry: Lack of Oversight Not to Blame for West Explosion

Perry held a press conference in Austin following the explosion in West.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says a lack of state oversight is not to blame for the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West.

Gov. Perry told the Associated Press the explosion would not have been prevented if the state had earmarked more money for inspections. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality inspected the West Fertilizer Company for an air quality permit in 2007.

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West Plant Explosion
3:02 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

For West First Responders, Much-Needed Relief in Sight

American Red Cross volunteers in West on April 18, one day after the explosion.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Of the 14 confirmed fatalities in the West fertilizer plant explosion, 10 were first responders. Most were from West, but some were from nearby service districts like Abbott, Mertens and Navarro Mills, and one was a fire captain in the Dallas Fire Department who lived in West.

Of the town's 33 volunteer firefighters, five were killed and 11 were hospitalized in the explosion.

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West Plant Explosion
12:54 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

West Schools Resume Classes After Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Students in West ISD are getting a small dose of 'normal' with the return to school.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Students at West Independent School District, in West, Texas, returned to school today for the first time since the fertilizer plant explosion that killed fourteen people and wounded about 200 others.

Counselors and therapy dogs are on hand to support students struggling to deal with the aftermath of the blast.

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