Debris litters a farmer39s field after An explosion leveled the West Fertilizer Co shown from the air on April 18 2013 in West Texas Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Debris litters a farmer's field after An explosion leveled the West Fertilizer Co., shown from the air on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas.

Government: West Fertilizer Fire and Explosion Was a Criminal Act

ATF announces a $50,000 reward for information leading to arrests in the West, Texas tragedy.

The Houston Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the fire and subsequent explosion that took the lives of 15 people at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas, on April 17, 2013.

On that date, at approximately 7:29 p.m., a fire was reported at the fertilizer facility in West. Approximately 22 minutes later, a large explosion occurred, causing 15 deaths (12 of whom were first responders), injuring 300 people, destroying more than 500 homes and leaving a crater 93 feet wide and 12 feet deep in its wake.

After more than 400 interviews, a systematic fire-scene examination, the review of witness photos, videos and observations, as well as extensive scientific testing at the ATF Fire Research Lab in Beltsville, Md., the fire has been ruled “incendiary,” or intentionally set. All viable accidental and natural fire scenarios were hypothesized, tested and eliminated.

ATF, along with the State Fire Marshall’s Office, the Texas Rangers, the McLennan County District Attorney’s Office and numerous other agencies are asking for the public’s assistance in identifying the person or persons responsible for this tragedy. Those with information should contact Waco Crime Stoppers at 254-753-HELP (4357) or online at www.wacocrimestoppers.org.

TAGS: Safety
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