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Criminal Intent in West Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 12-May-2016

On April 17 of 2013, a deadly fertilizer plant explosion at West Fertilizer Co., just north of Waco, TX, wiped out around 500 apartments, homes, businesses, nursing homes, and schools, killing 15 and injuring hundreds of others. The accident resulted in more than $100 million in damages to surrounding homes and businesses. The tight-knit farming community of only 2,800 people was rocked by the devastation that this unforeseen accident caused. The explosion was equivalent to a magnitude 2.1 earthquake and left a 93 foot wide crater at the site of the fertilizer plant. All surrounding buildings were severely damaged.

Accidental & Natural Causes Ruled Out

Three years later, just as the community was beginning to heal, the town was again devastated by new information in the case—the deadly explosion was likely caused after someone intentionally set fire to the plant, where dangerous chemicals such as ammonium nitrate were stored.

Officials have spent over $2 million in the investigation and painstakingly interviewed over 400 individuals. Just recently, ATF Special Agent Robert Elder disclosed to the public that the explosion was determined to be a criminal act after natural and accidental causes had been ruled out. In addition, he reported that investigators are now offering a $50,000 reward for anyone who might have information about the person or people responsible for this explosion. While there is no evidence that yet discloses the motive for such an act, there is hope that those responsible will be brought to justice and that the community can fully heal from this devastation.

Ongoing Litigation After Explosion

Earlier this year, the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board determined that the blast was “one of the most destructive incidents ever investigated” by the board. Continued litigation has resulted in several confidential settlements with the fertilizer company after numerous lawsuits were brought against them. There are still more lawsuits ongoing at the moment.

Client's portion of total recovery may be subject to Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement claims, Medicare/Medicaid liens or other third-party claims or liens. These verdicts and settlements are intended to be representative of cases handled by Arnold & Itkin, LLP. These listings are not a guarantee or prediction of the outcome of any other claims.

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