It’s too early to tell whether the explosion of the fertilizer plant in West, Texas, was the result of criminal negligence, state Attorney General Greg Abbott told a news conference Thursday afternoon.
“Our focus right now is trying to help the families affected by this,” Abbott said. “We’ll have to leave to another day issues such as” the possibility of criminal negligence.
There is still no known cause for the fire and resulting explosion that rocked the small town of West late Wednesday night. The blast was so powerful that it registered as a small earthquake.
An official with the Texas Department of Public Safety said there were deaths but would not give an exact amount of fatalities. He said officials “are still in the search and rescue phase, looking for individuals.”
More than 170 people were injured in the explosion.
Meanwhile, Abbott said Texas activated its price gouging statutes in light of the explosion so businesses don’t take advantage of those affected by the blast.
“If anyone tries to profiteer off this tragedy by hiking up prices for basic needs and necessities, they will be facing the wrong end of a lawsuit from the Texas state attorney general,” he said.