Interesting story developing.
On April 17th, a fertilizer plant blew up in West, Texas.
At least 15 people were killed, mostly first responders.
Hundreds were injured. Hundreds of homes were obliterated, destroyed, or damaged.
There were two very newsworthy types of fertilizer there at the plant: anhydrous ammonia, and ammonia nitrate.
--Anhydrous ammonia is scary stuff. It is highly reactive to oxidizers, and gives off a caustic gas. It is stored as a liquid, in tanks. It is used in the production of methamphetamine.
--Ammonia nitrate is a plastic solid, and was used in the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City. It's highly explosive, but is more stable than Anhydrous.
News people cast around, talking to people who didn't know what they were talking about. I saw news stories early speculating that the firefighters had sprayed water onto reactive substances, causing the fire and explosion. I saw references to them responding to a re-kindle.
At this point, they still aren't exactly sure what caused the fire.
Blame came, as it always does. Someone HAS to be to blame.
If Texas governor Rick Perry hadn't realized that his political aspirations for the national stage were ended in 2012, I hope that he realizes now that it's over. Political cartoonists and pundits in California, Illinois, and the east coast all tore into Perry, for his recent attempts to woo investors to Texas with his quite correct claim that Texas is booming. In his radio spots, Perry cited no income tax, and less interference by regulations for Texas' success. His critics seized on this as Exhibit A in the case of why half a Texas town was blown off the face of the earth.
The truth is, that West is a hub community, in the midst of farmland. A fertilizer plant and seed company would certainly have been an economic engine there, 60 years ago. The town grew around it. These things happen.
But now, we find that BATFE[IEIO] and the Texas Rangers have an open case of Possession Of A Destructive Device against one of the paramedics who was a first responder with the West Volunteer Fire Department, and who lost friends in the blast. You can see the newsies champing at the bit to connect this with the cause of the blast. And I'll admit that it would make a helluva story. Haven't we all heard the tale of the firefighter who is a secret arsonist, and been amazed? What better story than to find out that this small-town medic wanted to be a Walter Mitty with Münchausen syndrome-by-bombing?
But it's not necessarily the case. The BATFE boys are in town. The Rangers are in town. They're looking under every rock for ANY clue as to what might possibly has caused that fire. So if Mr. Reed was into making homemade firecrackers in his garage, this is not a good time for him. If he's fulfilling a lifelong dream to make his own recoiless rifle in his basement, these guys might get a bit twitchedy, and put a case together on him, out of something to do.
But time will tell.
Looks like it was components for a pipe bomb which Reed had. Ruh roh.