WEST, Texas, Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Federal authorities warn Texas communities are at risk of explosions like the one that occurred at a fertilizer plant in West that killed 15 people nearly three years ago.
The U.S. Chemical Safety Board published a draft report indicating that 19 facilities in Texas that store five or more tons of fertilizer-grade ammonium nitrate are within half a mile of a school, hospital or nursing home.
The industrial accident safety agency did not identify the locations, adding that there has been limited improvements in the rules governing fertilizer storage since the West Fertilizer disaster on April 17, 2013.
Explosions at the West Fertilizer plant were felt up to 50 miles away and caused damages in the community. More than 200 homes were damaged or destroyed. Most of the 15 people who died were first responders. More than 300 people were injured.
The blast caused significant damage to an assisted living facility and schools near the site.
"The risk to the public from a catastrophic incident exists through the state of Texas," agency wrote in the draft report published Monday.
The board will release a final report on Thursday after a vote.
There is consensus among officials that stronger regulation may have prevented the disaster. The report mentions there has been "strong resistance" in Texas to increasing regulation on facilities that distribute ammonium nitrate. Texas, unlike most states, also does not have a fire code.
In 2009, an insurance company dropped West Fertilizer's policy because it apparently lacked a positive safety culture and had faulty electrical wiring. West Fertilizer Company switched to a different insurance company, which has not provided the Chemical Safety Board evidence on-site inspections were performed.
"The CSB's analysis includes findings on the technical causes of the fire and explosion; regulatory changes that could have resulted in safety enhancements to the facility; the failure of the insurer to conduct safety inspections or provide an adequate level of coverage; shortcomings in emergency response, including pre-incident planning or response training of the volunteer firefighters; and deficiencies in land use planning that permitted the city of West to encroach upon the WFC over the years," the report states.