Bryce Reed, a West, Texas, paramedic who responded to the town’s devastating fertilizer plant explosion last month, was arrested Friday on charges of possession of a destructive device, the Dallas Morning News reported.
It’s unclear whether the arrest of Reed, 31, is related to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s announcement that authorities are launching a criminal investigation into the explosion. The disaster killed 15 people and wounded more than 160 others.
Reed was booked into the McLennan County Jail around 2 a.m. Friday and is now in the custody of U.S. Marshals, according to the Morning News. He was expected to appear in Waco federal court on Friday.
Aside from being a paramedic, Reed also was an EMS instructor. One of his students, Amanda Atkins, told the paper that his arrest was shocking.
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“The Bryce Reed that I know is a great guy," she said. "He would do anything for anybody. I would trust him with my life. I don’t see him being that type of person at all. He is the most caring, giving guy. I mean, wow. He’s totally not that type of person.”
On the day of the explosion, Reed told reporters he was sitting at home with his wife, a nurse, when they heard about a fire at the plant. They immediately drove to the scene, encouraging neighbors to leave their apartments since the toxic plume would make them sick. When they reached the plant, they saw the ambulances and Reed saw his buddy Cyrus Reed's truck. As they drove away, they felt the explosion.
Just last Sunday, Reed gave an interview to the Morning News in which he described the emotional trauma of seeing his closest friend die in the explosion and attending numerous funerals for fellow first responders. He thanked counselors and volunteer psychologists at the scene for "walking through hell with us to help us get to the other side.” Reed added that he has not been feeling well and sometimes feels like "screaming underwater."