Federal agency to hold first public hearing in West on Tuesday - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Federal agency to hold first public hearing in West on Tuesday

(KLTV) -

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board will hold the government’s first public meeting in the town of West on Tuesday, presenting preliminary findings on the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in April 2013.

The board is expected to discuss possible causes of the blast, as well as suggest new safety measures to help prevent another incident. While the discussion of the cause is on the agenda, experts predict that the conclusion will likely remain undetermined, as it has for over year.

Critics point out that in the year since the explosion, no state or federal laws have been enacted that would change or improve safety conditions at facilities similar to the one in West. Texas has hundreds of plants across the state, and some believe a widespread risk still exists.

State hearings on the matter in early April did open the possibility for some form of legislation; however, no such bill has been introduced so far.

In fact, the State Fire Marshal suggested hazardous chemicals be moved from standard wooden storage units to non-combustible containers retrofitted with automatic fire sprinklers.

Another issue raised includes the need for mandatory training, teaching firefighters how to respond to similar scenarios. 12 of the 15 people killed in the blast were volunteer firefighters responding to the scene.

The board’s meeting will begin at 5:30 P.M. at a local community center in West. The agency’s final report is expected in the coming months.

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