Texas Rangers, McLennan County Sheriff Launch Criminal Investigation Into West Blast

Officials have not said if they believe fire intentionally set

The Texas Rangers and McLennan County Sheriff's Department are opening a criminal investigation into the West fertilizer explosion that killed 15 and injured more than 200 last month.

Until now, investigators have largely treated the West Fertilizer Co. blast as an industrial accident.

On Friday, Texas Department of Public Safety director Steven McCraw directed the Texas Rangers to join McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara in the criminal investigation into the April 17 blast.

“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,” said McCraw in a news release Friday.

Though a criminal investigation is now underway, officials have not said if anyone is suspected of intentionally starting the fire the led to the deadly explosion.

“The citizens of McLennan County and Texas must have confidence that this incident has been looked at from every angle and professionally handled – they deserve nothing less,” said McNamara. 

Officials said no other information regarding the investigation will be released at this time.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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