Two Federal Agencies Send Teams to Texas Fertilizer Explosion Site

Mangled debris of a fertilizer plant are seen Thursday, April 18, 2013, a day after an explosion leveled the plant in West, Texas. Mangled debris of a fertilizer plant are seen Thursday, April 18, 2013, a day after an explosion leveled the plant in West, Texas. Charlie Riedel/AP

The cause of Wednesday’s fatal explosion at a fertilizer facility near Waco, Texas -- be it an industrial accident or criminal act -- will be investigated by two federal agencies along with state authorities.

On Wednesday the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent members of its National Response Team along with special agents from its Houston field office to the rural town of West, south of Dallas.

On Friday, authorities announced that 12 bodies had been recovered, with some 200 residents of nearby homes and farms injured. The explosion occurred in storage tanks containing high-pressure liquid ammonia.

On Thursday night, a team from the U.S. Chemical Safety Investigative Board, an independent, nonregulatory investigative agency, arrived in West, a board spokeswoman confirmed. The dozen, including experts in fire and explosives modeling, make up the largest team the Chemical Board has ever deployed, according to agency general counsel Richard Loeb.

The ATF teams, according to an agency statement, are each composed of veteran special agents who have post-blast and fire origin-and-cause expertise; forensic chemists; explosives enforcement officers; fire protection engineers; accelerant detection canines; explosives detection canines; intelligence support, computer forensic support and audit support. They work with state and local officers in reconstructing the scene, “identifying the seat of the blast or origin of the fire, conducting interviews, and sifting through debris to obtain evidence related to the bombing/arson.”

The Texas mission marks the sixth activation of the national response teams this year, and the 742nd since 1978.

ATF this week also sent investigators up to Boston to work on the marathon bombing case.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.