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No cause determined yet for West, Texas, blast, arson not ruled out

May 16, 2013 at 7:01 PM   |   Comments

DALLAS, May 16 (UPI) -- Investigators said Thursday no cause has been determined for the April 17 explosions that killed 15 people at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.

Robert Champion, special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Dallas field office, told reporters investigators have not ruled out the possibility the explosions at West Fertilizer Co. resulted from a fire that may have been set intentionally, NBC News reported.

Investigators said the fire, which originated in a fertilizer and seed building called the "seed room," may have been a case of arson, or it may have resulted from an electrical system failure. They said they could not rule out a compromised golf cart battery as a possible cause but the battery has not been recovered, NBC reported.

Investigators have ruled out other possible causes, including weather, spontaneous ignition, a larger electrical system, ammonium compounds used to make fertilizer, and smoking, the report said.

The explosions devastated a 37-square-block area and left a crater 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep, Champion said.

Authorities said they would not provide many details of the investigation to date because the matter is being treated as a criminal case.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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