Fertilizer Companies Blame West VFD, Others, For Deadly Explosion

By: Paul J. Gately Email
By: Paul J. Gately Email
The fertilizer companies that are the target of a lawsuit over the April 2013 West fertilizer plant explosion have filed a response in which they blame the West Volunteer Fire Department, Adair Grain, a golf cart manufacturer and a mystery man for the blast.

(File)

WEST (July 25, 2014) CF Industries, CF Industries Sales, CF Industries, Inc., CF Industries Nitrogen, LLC and CF Industries Enterprises, Inc., the fertilizer companies that are the target of a lawsuit over the April 2013 West fertilizer plant explosion, have filed a response in which they blame the West Volunteer Fire Department, Adair Grain, a golf cart manufacturer and a mystery man for the blast.

The filing says the blame for the April 17, 2013 explosion that left 15 dead, scores injured and destroyed dozens of house and buildings resulted from the inability of the local fire department to fight a major industrial fire.

In addition the companies blame Adair Grain, which the filing says improperly stored the volatile fertilizer that exploded, the manufacturer of a golf cart that investigators said could have been the source of the initial fire that led to the blast, and an unnamed individual who, according to investigation, could have started the fire as a criminal act.

The filing points out that the State Fire Marshal's Office investigated the fire and found in its report that "the West Volunteer Fire Department did not properly plan, train or equip firefighters of the WVFD to handle a fire at a high-risk commercial business."

The filing goes on to say that the state fire marshal "noted that the storage and handling practices utilized by Adair Grain...of the materials in its facility, including ammonium nitrate, were unsafe and did not meet current standards for the storage of those materials."

Further, the filing says officials who investigated the explosion determined that the fire that triggered the blast “may have been caused by a golf cart kept on the premises at West Fertilizer."

And finally the filing says the official report from the state fire marshal suggests "the fire may have been 'an intentionally set fire' by an unknown criminal actor."

“The City of West, Adair Grain, Inc., Textron Company (the manufacturer of the golf cart) and John Doe be designated as responsible third parties …,” the filing said.

Steve Harrison, a Waco lawyer who is part of the plaintiff's steering committee in the lawsuit, dismissed the claims Friday.

“The manufacturers of the fertilizer that blew up half the town of West, killed 15 people, injured hundreds and destroyed homes and businesses are trying to blame the explosion and damage on the West Volunteer Fire Department, a golf cart manufacturer and an imaginary criminal person … some things really just don't need any comment."


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