VERIFY: West Fertilizer Plant Explosion Investigation.

Kurtis Quillin verifies the progress of the investigation in to the fertilizer plant explosion which killed 15 people on April 17, 2013.

WEST - A new initiative at Channel 6, we launched "Verify" on Monday.

We take questions and concerns, look at the facts and give them straight to you.

Our first Verify: where does the investigation into the West Fertilizer Plant explosion, which killed 15 people, stand?

For 3 years following the explosion in West, the cause of the blast remained undetermined.

Then, 11 months ago, the Federal Bureay for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) announces it had evidence to rule the incident as arson.

For this story, we had the following sources:

  • FBI San Antonio office
  • Texas Department of Public Safety
  • Texas Department of Insurance
  • ATF Houston office

The FBI office in San Antonio, DPS and Department of Insurance all told us to contact ATF Houston because they're leading the investigation.

We spoke with Nicole Strong, Public Information Officer for the ATF Houston office who told us they still haven't made an arrest in the arson investigation.

They have pursued several leads, none of which could be disclosed.  And a reward of $50,000 reward for a tip that helps in solving the case is still being offered by ATF in addition to $2,000 from Crime Stoppers.

For the people of West, attempts to move forward are difficult with answers still up in the air.

"I lost my whole life," Leona Hanzlicek, who lost her home due to the blast, said.  "I don't have the house I used to.  And they just don't build them like they used to."

Stephanie Lee, who has lived in West for 27 years added, "I just want them to please hurry and find some results and find some justice for our town.  Because I think it's been long enough.  Four years has been entirely too long."

While the City of West has picked up the pieces and literally re-built, it still awaits further answers into the tragedy which took the lives of 15, 12 of who were first responders, on April 17, 2013.

Anyone with information that may help in the investigation is asked to contact ATF at (281) 716-8200.

© 2017 KCEN-TV


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