Five weeks after an exploding fertilizer plant devastated a wide swath of the town of West, the federal agency charged with finding out how such industrial accidents happen has curtailed its investigation, saying the blast site has been so disturbed by the search for signs of criminal wrongdoing that it can yield little useful evidence.
The U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, which makes recommendations aimed at averting future disasters, has recalled most of the emergency response team it rushed to West after the April 17 blast. Only five of the dozen members now remain, said the board’s managing director, Daniel Horowitz.
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Ongoing West coverage
This is the latest in a series of in-depth reports by the American-Statesman on topics surrounding last month’s plant explosion. Previous stories chronicled the disaster’s impact on town residents, provided a detailed look at inspections of West Fertilizer Co. through the years and identified 16 similar plants statewide.