Fertilizer makers blame Texas city for deadly blast

HOUSTON, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Two fertilizer manufacturers sued following a deadly plant explosion in a small Texas city last year are seeking to blame the city and its volunteer firefighters for the disaster, local media reported Saturday.

El Dorado Chemical Co. and CF Industries, two of the four companies named as defendants in the case, argued in a recent motion that the city of West failed to properly train the first responders and had insufficient protocols in place to battle the April 17, 2013 blaze at West Fertilizer Co. that triggered the explosion, according to the Waco-Tribune Herald.

"The State Fire Marshal's Office found that the city of West and the West Volunteer Fire Department did not properly plan for, train, or equip the firefighters to handle a fire at a high-risk commercial business," the motion said.

The motion also alleged that the West government should be named as a "responsible third party" because it failed to protect its citizens by allowing, through its zoning authority, schools and a nursing home to operate in a close proximity to the plant.

El Dorado Chemical Co. and CF Industries allegedly supplied agricultural-grade ammonium nitrate to West Fertilizer Co., which was deemed as the source of the blast. The other company sued is International Chemical Co., also a supplier.

There is no conclusion yet on how exactly the blast happened and who was to blame. Preliminary investigations from federal and state agencies have found the plant at fault. Firefighters who rushed to the scene were said to be unprepared for and unaware of the scale of the disaster.

The explosion leveled hundreds of homes and almost decimated the whole city, killing 15 people and injuring more than 200 others. It was one of the worst accidents in Texas in recent years.