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Final Report on Fatal West Fertilizer Explosion Coming

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board (CSB) will convene a public meeting on Thursday, January 28, 2016, in Waco, TX, to present the investigation report and safety recommendations from the April 17, 2013, ammonium nitrate fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer facility in West, TX.

The West Fertilizer explosion is one of the most destructive incidents ever investigated by the CSB. Twelve emergency responders were fatally injured when a stockpile of fertilizer grade ammonium nitrate (FGAN) violently detonated. In addition, three members of the public were fatally injured as a result of the explosion, and local hospitals treated more than 260 injuries. Offsite damage was estimated to exceed $100 million.

At the meeting, the Board will hear a presentation from the investigative staff on their draft investigation report and related safety recommendations. The Board will also hear comments from the community. At the conclusion of the staff presentation, the Board may vote on the final report.

“The CSB looks forward to the completion of the investigation into this tragic accident,” said chairperson Vanessa Allen Sutherland. “By sharing the lessons learned from the West Fertilizer investigation, we will, among other items, raise of awareness of hazards associated with the storage of ammonium nitrate to help prevent similar accidents in the future. The Board looks forward to sharing its findings and hearing from the public.”

The meeting is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is not required, but to assure adequate seating attendees are strongly encouraged to pre-register by emailing their names and affiliations to [email protected]

The meeting will also be webcast live and free of charge. Details about the webcast will be available at www.csb.gov closer to the time of the meeting.

The CSB is an independent Federal agency charged with investigating serious chemical accidents. The agency's Board members are appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. CSB investigations look into all aspects of chemical accidents, including physical causes such as equipment failure, as well as inadequacies in regulations, industry standards, and safety management systems.

The Board does not issue citations or fines but makes safety recommendations to companies, industry organizations, labor groups, regulatory agencies such as OSHA and EPA, and others. Visit www.csb.gov for more information.

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