Reporting Robbie Owens
WEST (CBSDFW.COM) - State and federal investigators continued to comb through the rubble in West Monday — looking for clues to what touched off a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant last week. The blast killed 14 people and leveled dozens of homes.
Still, residents were warned that answers won’t come quickly. “The investigation is ongoing,” said Kelly Kistner, Asst. Texas Fire Marshal at an afternoon briefing. “The investigation will take so long because it’s done in a scientific method through a scientific process. It’s very methodical, one way to compare this is, it’s much like an archaeological dig — we’re layering through everything to try to get the answers.’
The State Fire Marshal’s office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) are heading up the investigation.
According to Kistner, investigators have identified the epicenter of the fatal blast and are working to create a 3D image of the crater that was left behind to determine its exact size. The size of the crater will give clues to the magnitude of the blast.
Crews are also still working to inventory the chemicals that remain on site at the crippled fertilizer plant — but, state officials insist that the situation is no longer dangerous.
“There are no concerns safety wise as far as eminent danger to the neighborhood or anybody else,” says Asst. Fire Marshal Kistner. “And the emergency workers and the investigators who are down there are well trained in handling that situation.”
Kistner also insisted that there is no timeline for the investigation. “The teams are down there today continuing the excavation process. It is a very slow, methodical process, but it is continuing and we’re working at the right pace to make sure we get the job done and get it done correctly.”
DONATIONS: West city leaders are thanking donors for their incredible generosity; but, say they are out of space to store all that’s been given. Asking those who still want to help, to give cash or gift cards so the donations can be given directly to those impacted. Information on the bank accounts is on their website http://www.cityofwest.com.
ZONE 3 STILL RESTRICTED: Homeowners nearest the fertilizer plant are still not being allowed back into the area. City leaders say they are working with the Texas Department of Public Safety to make that happen as soon as possible.
LIMITED UTILITIES: Utilities are still limited in the impacted area. There is no water service to several hundred homes, and limited electricity and natural gas to others. City leaders are warning that it may take as many as three weeks to get water service restored.
BOIL WATER ALERT: Residents in West who do have water service are being told to boil water before drinking it.
TOWN HALL MEETING: A town hall meeting has been scheduled for 6:00 PM on Tuesday, April 23rd at the Knights of Columbus Hall to keep residents updated on the re-entry and recovery process.
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