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May 11, 2013
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Criminal investigation launched into Texas plant explosion

Federal agents said they found bomb-making materials belonging to a paramedic who helped evacuate residents the night of the explosion

Associated Press

WACO, Texas — Texas law enforcement officials on Friday launched a criminal investigation into the massive fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people last month, after weeks of largely treating the blast as an industrial accident.

The announcement came the same day federal agents said they found bomb-making materials belonging to a paramedic who helped evacuate residents the night of the explosion. Bryce Reed was arrested early Friday on a charge of possessing a destructive device, but law enforcement officials said they had not linked the charge to the April 17 fire and blast at West Fertilizer Co.

"It is important to emphasize that at this point, no evidence has been uncovered to indicate any connection to the events surrounding the fire and subsequent explosion ... and the arrest of Bryce Reed by the ATF," the McLennan County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Texas Department of Public Safety said earlier Friday that the agency had instructed the Texas Rangers and the sheriff's department to conduct a criminal probe into the explosion. The agencies will join the State Fire Marshall's Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which have been leading the investigation and never ruled out that a crime may have been committed.

"This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered," DPS Director Steven McCraw said.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press






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