More than a decade before roughly 30 tons of ammonium nitrate exploded at the West Fertilizer Co. plant, killing 14, wounding 200 and damaging dozens of homes in the city of West, an obscure federal agency recommended the government pay more attention to managing potentially explosive chemicals like ammonium nitrate.
But the recommendations never fully took hold. Had they been adopted, company officials at West might have been required to publicly report the worst case explosive scenario, and the safety measures they would take to avert it.
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