West Explosion UpdateFeatured Stories, News Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
HOUSTON (AP) _ Federal and state officials investigating last week’s deadly blast at a Central Texas fertilizer company are trying to determine whether a fire at the plant could have ignited a supply of ammonium nitrate. But how much of the highly explosive fertilizer was stored at the site is unclear because of a gap in federal regulations. The gap indicates that measures taken after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the Sept. 11, 2001, attack to monitor potentially dangerous substances have been less effective than anticipated. The investigation of the blast at the West Fertilizer Co., which killed at least 14 people, has focused new attention on the regulation of chemicals that pose safety or terrorism concerns.
HOUSTON (AP) _ A fertilizer plant that exploded in Central Texas last week, killing at least 14 people, could have stored up to 270 tons of ammonium nitrate. But investigators say they don’t know how much of the explosive chemical was kept at the fertilizer company in West, Texas, because of gaps in government regulations. The Department of Homeland Security requires companies with more than 400 pounds of ammonium nitrate to register for possible security screening. The Texas company didn’t register, but it wasn’t clear whether it needed to comply.
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State Representative Kyle Kacal of rural College Station and Senator Brian Birdwell of Granbury, whose districts include West, issued a joint news release Wednesday repeating the need for cash donations.
Among the accounts is the Brazos Valley Media Giving Back Fund, a joint effort of News/Talk 1620 WTAW, Candy 95, KBTX Media, and The Eagle.
All donations will go to the Red Cross and volunteer organizations in West.
To donate to aid in the recovery of West, call or visit any Bryan-College Station location of The Bank & Trust.
Make sure to specifically ask that your donation go to “Brazos Valley Media Gives Back Fund.”
The memorial service for the first responders killed in West will be held 2 p.m. Thursday in Baylor’s Ferrell Center.
For more information on Thursday’s memorial service and to watch the event live online, please visit www.firehero.org/westtexas.
For information on how to volunteer your time for the recovery effort in West, please visit http://www.volunteertx.org/.
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