Texas launches criminal probe into plant explosion; paramedic arrested


Sarah Mervosh, Brandon Formby and Christina Rosales
DallasNews.com
May 10, 2013

Hours after a West paramedic was arrested for possessing a destructive device Friday, the Texas Rangers and McLennan County Sheriff’s office launched a criminal investigation into the fatal fertilizer plant explosion that he responded to last month.

But authorities have yet to say whether the arrest of 31-year-old Bryce Reed was related to the April 17 explosion at West Fertilizer Co. that killed 15 people, including 12 men who were responding to the fire. Reed made an initial appearance in federal court in Waco on Friday but did not enter a plea. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mark Frazier would not release further details about the charge.

The State Fire Marshal’s office has not determined – or ruled out – whether the fire was a criminal act or accidental. The agency also has not determined the cause of the fire that preceded the deadly explosion, believed to have been fueled largely by ammonium nitrate kept at the plant. Rachel Moreno, a spokeswoman for the agency, said Friday she could not comment on Reed’s arrest.

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