West, Texas, Criminal Probe Launched In Fertilizer Plant Explosion

The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers are leading a criminal probe to investigate April’s fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, authorities announced Friday.

The McLennan County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Rangers will lead the criminal probe, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The agency did not give a reason for the upcoming investigation.

“This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered,” said Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw in a statement.

“The citizens of McLennan County and Texas must have confidence that this incident has been looked at from every angle and professionally handled -- they deserve nothing less,” added McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara.

In the days following the April 17 explosion, which killed more than a dozen people and injured more than 160 others, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said it was “premature” to consider criminal charges in the case.

“Our focus right now is trying to help the families affected by this,” Abbott told a news conference the day after the explosion. “We’ll have to leave to another day issues such as” the possibility of criminal negligence.

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