Crime not ruled out in Texas fertilizer blast May 17, 2013
Paramedic denies link to fertilizer blast May 12, 2013
Texas church holds service in hayfield after massive blast April 21, 2013
Little regulation for small fertilizer plants April 21, 2013
14 bodies recovered after Texas blast April 19, 2013
Both fertilizer plants in state located in Benton County April 19, 2013
Some who fought fertilizer inferno never went home April 18, 2013
As many as 15 dead in Texas fertilizer inferno April 17, 2013
"It is important to emphasize that at this point, no evidence has been uncovered to indicate any connection to the events surrounding the fire and subsequent explosion ... and the arrest of Bryce Reed by the ATF," the McLennan County Sheriff's office said in a statement.
The Texas Department of Public Safety said earlier Friday that the agency had instructed the Texas Rangers and the sheriff's department to conduct a criminal probe into the explosion.
"This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered," DPS Director Steven McCraw said.
McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said residents "must have confidence that this incident has been looked at from every angle and professionally handled — they deserve nothing less."
The statement did not detail any further reasons for the criminal investigation and said no additional information would be released.
Reed, meanwhile, was in federal custody. A criminal complaint unsealed Friday afternoon said he was arrested after McLennan County deputies were called earlier this week to a home in Abbott, a town about five miles from West, and found bomb-making materials — including a galvanized metal pipe, canisters filled with fuses, a lighter, a digital scale and a variety of chemical powders.
"After further investigation, it was determined that the resident had unwittingly taken possession of the components from Reed on April 26," says the complaint signed by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent Douglas Kunze.
An ATF explosives specialist and a chemist examined the items and agreed the "combination of parts can be readily assembled into a destructive device," the complaint says.
Reed made an initial appearance in federal court in Waco on Friday, but did not enter a plea.
Officials have largely treated the West explosion as an industrial accident, though investigators still searching for the cause of a fire that preceded the blast have said they would treat the area as a crime scene until all possibilities were considered. Authorities have focused on ammonium nitrate, a chemical commonly used as a fertilizer, but that also can be explosive in the right conditions, as the cause of the explosion.
Reed was one of several paramedics who helped evacuate residents from nearby apartments after the fire erupted and shortly before the explosion. He has spoken to The Associated Press extensively, and said he was devastated by the explosion, which he said killed one of his closest friends, Cyrus Reed. Bryce Reed eulogized the firefighter at his funeral; the two are not related.
Bryce Reed's wife, Brittany Reed, declined to comment early Friday.
"I can't. No comment, no comment no comment right now," she said before hanging up the phone.
More Nation & World Headlines
GOP candidates condemn Planned Parenthood shooting Iraqis find 3 more mass graves in formerly IS-held Sinjar ‘No more baby parts’: Reclusive suspect’s words draw focus Japan whaling fleet set to leave for Antarctic Earth wilder, warmer since last climate deal made Pennsylvania officer shot, killed during call; suspect charged Obama’s first stop in Paris is saddest of destinations Climate protests take place around the world on eve of Paris summit
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.