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Nursing home destroyed in West explosion settles lawsuit

A nursing home destroyed in the 2013 West explosion has settled a lawsuit related to that blast.

The West Rest Haven nursing home in West has settled a lawsuit it filed against manufacturers and suppliers of the agriculture grade ammonium nitrate involved in the West Fertilizer Plant explosion that destroyed the facility on April 17, 2013.

In total, the blast killed 15 people in Central Texas, injuring nearly 200 more and leveling homes.

West Rest Haven sued CF Industries, the El Dorado Chemical Company and the International Chemical Company after the explosion, which displaced all the nursing home residents. The lawsuit argued the businesses were negligent in selling and distributing the ammonium nitrate, should not have sold it to the West Fertilizer Plant and failed to warn of the dangers associated with storing the product.

The confidential settlement will help cover the nursing home's damages that were either uninsured or under-insured at the time of the explosion.

The nursing home facility that was destroyed was 55,000 square feet with 133 residents and 145 beds. After the blast, residents were moved to a dozen different facilities in Central Texas. West Rest Haven opened a new 75,000 square foot facility in 2015. It has 120 beds and currently serves 116 residents.

"On behalf of the board of directors and our shareholders, we would like to thank the law firm of Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Jones, our administrative team and wonderful staff, the community of West, our volunteers, and especially our residents and their families for all their help and patience over the last several years,” said Robby Payne, president of the board of directors at West Rest Haven, Inc., in a press release. “We will continue our mission to serve the community’s senior population and take care of our residents with love and compassion, putting their needs first to the best of our ability.”

West Rest Haven was represented by Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Jones -- the same law firm that also represented 10 of the families who lost loved ones in the explosion. In addition, the firm represented 75 of the people who were hurt, several damaged businesses, and the City of West.

All of the settlements are confidential, except for the city's roughly $10 million settlement, which was public record.

In 2016, authorities announced the fire that caused the explosion was intentionally set. As of February 2018, investigators had not announced any arrests.

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