May 07, 2013
West Fertilizer Investigation to Continue Past May 10
The investigation into the origin and cause of the West Fertilizer Plant fire and explosion is ongoing. The investigation will not be complete by May 10. The investigation will take 1-2 weeks beyond May 10.
Over 70 investigators from agencies including the State Fire Marshal's Office and ATF continue the investigation. The two agencies have developed over 200 leads, from which over 400 interviews have been conducted. Thus far, investigators do know the origin of the fire was in the fertilizer and seed building. The investigators continue to work on pinpointing an exact location of the fire's origin within the building that is over 12,000 square feet.
Investigators do know that ammonium nitrate did detonate in the explosion. However, they do not know how the explosion was initiated. Also, investigators still do not know the cause of the fire that happened prior to the deadly explosion.
Investigators have eliminated the following causes for the initial fire: weather, natural causes, anhydrous ammonium, the railcar containing ammonium nitrate, and a fire within the ammonium nitrate bin. The aforementioned items were not the cause of the fire that happened prior to the explosion at the West Fertilizer and Adair Grain facility.
Additionally, water used during fire fighting activities did not contribute to the cause of the explosion. However, the investigation into the deaths of the first responders also continues and is not complete.