Fertilizer plant explosion levels several blocks of small Texas town

Official Cause of West Fertilizer Blast Still Weeks Away

Investigators sifting through debris crater

By Stefan Gorman
|  Monday, Apr 29, 2013  |  Updated 11:31 PM CDT
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West Remembers Victims of Fertilizer Plant Fire

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A Valley Mills Fire Department personnel walks among the remains of an apartment complex next to the fertilizer plant that exploded in West.

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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigators tell NBC 5 that weather did not play a role in the April 17th explosion at a West fertilizer company that left 14 people dead.

Investigators from the ATF and the State Fire Marshal's Office used shovels and heavy equipment brought in by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Monday to sift through debris at the blast crate in West. They say it could be weeks before they know the cause of the fire and the blast that followed.

Agents are now trying to piece together the buildings that once stood on the site, but the blast was so violent and burned at such a high temperature that the process is even more of a challenge than found in a typical fire investigation, they said.

The State Fire Marshal's Office advised residents in West that they are likely to see smoke rising from the blast site on Tuesday, but the smoke would be a result of an ongoing search of the debris site. Residents are asked not to call 911 if they see the smoke.

On Tuesday, West volunteer firefighter Jimmy Matus will be memorialized in services at St. Mary's of the Assumption. Burial services will follow at St. Mary's cemetery in West.


West Fertilizer Plant Explosion
Complete coverage of a massive fertilizer plant explosion that leveled blocks of the small Texas town of West, TX. Click here for more.

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