Rep. Joe Pickett: 'If we do nothing, we will have another West d - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Rep. Joe Pickett: 'If we do nothing, we will have another West disaster'

Posted: Updated:
(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File). FILE - In this April 18, 2013 aerial file photo are the remains of a nursing home, left, apartment complex, center, and fertilizer plant, right, destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File). FILE - In this April 18, 2013 aerial file photo are the remains of a nursing home, left, apartment complex, center, and fertilizer plant, right, destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas.
Investigators scour the remains of the East Texas Ag Services facility in Athens. (Source KLTV) Investigators scour the remains of the East Texas Ag Services facility in Athens. (Source KLTV)
ATHENS, TX (KLTV) - Legislation was introduced in Austin Tuesday following two fertilizer incidents in one year in Texas. State Rep. Joe Pickett, chair of the committee on homeland security and public safety, outlined his draft bill.

The bill would give volunteer firefighters the ability to inspect facilities. At this time, paid firefighters are the only ones able to inspect facilities under state law. The bill would also suggest the state adopt sections of the National Fire Protection Association's best practices. Those include storing ammonium nitrate in non-combustible containers/buildings and/or having sprinkler systems in storage facilities.

"We have overkill with this bill," said Rep. George Lavender, R-Texarkana.

State Rep. Dan Flynn urged the committee to get the opinion of all of those involved before they decide on legislation.

"I just want us to be cautious in what we do," Rep. Flynn, R-Van, said. "I just don't want us to go into massive regulations."

Rep. Pickett said the committee needs to act on changes following the fertilizer fires.

"I think, Dan (Flynn), if we do nothing, we will have another West disaster," Pickett said.

Athens Fire Chief John McQueary said he does not see how the possible actions would be an overreach of government. He said the risk to the public is too great.

"I think if it was an isolated case and the death and injury rate was a minimum, maybe we'd be reaching too much," McQueary said. "If another one happens, people are going to get tired of hearing why we're waiting."

Rep. Pickett said he would like the committee's support but would not be afraid to be the only one to put his name on the bill.

"I may be the only one who signs on a bill in November," he said. "But I just couldn't live with myself if I didn't propose something different than what we've had."

If members do not agree with the draft bill, they can file their own version or file amendments to the bill when the 84th Legislative Session starts in January.

Copyright 2014 KLTV. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

105 West Ferguson Street
Tyler, TX 75702

FCC Public File
publicfile@kltv.com
903-597-5588
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KLTV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.