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State Agencies Provide Update On Texas Fertilizer Plant Safety

Ryan Poppe
TPR News

State officials are reporting back to a group of House lawmakers about what Texas is doing to keep communities similar to West, Texas safe from another fertilizer plant explosion.

State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said his office has been conducting fire inspections of these types of facilities:

"We’ve done 62 inspections, thus far only five have said 'no,'" he said. "We still have about 140 to 153 facilities that we will finish up in October and then we will have this map created by November."

State emergency planners and the state fire marshal’s office have been busy this summer creating a website where anyone can enter their zip code to determine if a fertilizer plant similar to the one that exploded in the town of West may be near their homes.

Connealy could not say the reason why five fertilizer plants would not allow his office onto their property for an inspection.

"Because there is not a state fire code, the state fire marshal does not have authority to go in and do inspections in these facilities," he said. "Most of them have been very compliant and we expect that to continue as we finish up by October.

In April a fertilizer plant in West had a massive explosion that killed 14 people and left parts of the town and nearby school destroyed. The cause of the explosion is still undermined.