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A deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant in 2013 was intentionally set and constitutes a criminal act, according to U.S. investigators who are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the responsible party or parties.
The fire and explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. in West, Texas, killed 12 emergency responders and three civilians, injured more than 300 other people, destroyed more than 500 homes and left a crater 93 feet wide and 12 feet deep in its wake, the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said Wednesday.
After an investigation that involved more than 400 interviews and cost more than $2 million, the ATF has ruled out all reasonable and accidental causes for the fire, including smoking, according to the bureau's Houston field division, which conducted the investigation.
The agency on Wednesday announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.
The explosion, which destroyed the facility and caused extensive damage to 150 offsite buildings, triggered an estimated $230 million in insurance-related losses, according to a U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board report published in January.
However, the company, which filed for bankruptcy after the disaster, was insured for just $1 million, the report said.
Mexican petroleum firm Petroleos Mexicanos said that at least 13 people have died due to the recent blast at its petrochemical facility in the country's Veracruz state, reported Reuters.