Feds blame chemical storage for deadly Texas plant explosion

Feds blame chemical storage for deadly Texas plant explosion
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Federal investigators looking into a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas are blaming state and federal regulators for not properly overseeing how chemicals were stored.

A U.S. Chemical Safety Board report released Tuesday concluded that there are three main scenarios for the explosion, which killed 15 and injured more than 160 in 2013.

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The report focused heavily on how the plant was storing its ammonium nitrate, CBS Dallas reported Tuesday. The study also blamed the heat, pressure and debris from a fire for helping cause the explosion.

The study also faulted the facility's insurance company with failing to conduct a proper safety inspection of the plant. There were “shortcomings” in the emergency response to the incident, the study said, including for the volunteer firefighters who responded to the fire.

The study recommended policy changes for a dozen different agencies — including the Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Texas Department of Insurance and Commission on Fire Protection — including instructions to write new standards and institute new training regimes for dealing with ammonium nitrate.

The Chemical Safety Board will hold a meeting in Waco, Texas this week to discuss the report.

The West Fertilizer Co.’s storage and distribution facility in West, Texas caught fire and exploded on April 17, 2013. Later that year, President Obama issued an executive order to insure better federal coordination in response to other potential incidents.