Lawsuit Settled after Blast Rocks West, Texas
On April 17, 2013, an explosion in West, Texas claimed the lives of 15 people and injured more than 200. Streets, waterlines, sewer systems and other critical infrastructure were badly damaged. Several homes, the local high school and even a nursing home were among the structures impacted by the blast. The explosion was so violent and powerful that it registered a magnitude 2.1 tremor according to the U.S. Geological Survey. In May, 2016, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives determined that the fire that ignited a storehouse of ammonium-nitrate had deliberately been set.
Last week, the West City Council agreed to a $10.4 million settlement with CF Industries paying $6.4 million, El Dorado Chemical paying $3.9 million and Adair Grain Co., which owned the facility at the time, to pay $143,000. The lawsuit included the manufacturers of the ammonium-nitrate, saying the companies were negligent in selling the fertilizer to the West Fertilizer Company, and didn't properly convey the potential dangers involved with storing ammonium-nitrate.
The funds will compensate the city for damages which were not covered by insurance or paid for with government grants. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, West, Texas Mayor Tommy Muska noted great satisfaction at the decision and indicated the settlement would guarantee the future financial health of the city, and pay for repairs to infrastructure damaged by the blast.
Image credit: Texas State Historical Association