WEST, Texas (Houston Chronicle) - A West emergency medical technician who praised his friends killed in a deadly fertilizer plant explosion was arrested Friday on a charge of possessing an explosive device.
JEMS Fertilizer Plant Explosion Coverage
Bryce Reed is expected to have an initial court appearance Friday in McLennan County, less than a month after 14 died at or near the West Fertilizer Plant.
Authorities have not linked the arrest to the investigation of the April 17 blast, which left a 93-foot-wide crater at its origin and scores of homes destroyed or severely damaged. Officials are still examining the scene, said Rachel Moreno, spokeswoman for the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office.
The charges against Reed, which are expected to be explained once he makes an initial appearance, are tied to possession of a device, not the cause of the April fire.
Officials have not determined how the fire started, but they did confirm earlier this week that the fire caused ammonium nitrate stored in a building at the West site to explode. Other contributing factors beyond the initial fire had to also play a role, Moreno said Monday.
Friday, state law enforcement officials instructed the Texas Rangers to help the McLennan County Sheriff's Office launch a criminal investigation into the blast.
"This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered," said Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw, in a news release.