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Partial Settlement Reached After Fertilizer Plant Explosion

October 13, 2015 — Two years after a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, the families of three men who died have reached an undisclosed settlement, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The explosion occurred on April 17, 2013 at a facility storing ammonium nitrate, a potent fertilizer and highly-explosive chemical used in bombs.

No one knows how the fire started, but after burning for 22 minutes it hit between 40 and 60 tons of ammonium nitrate. The explosion injured 170 people, caused 15 deaths, and leveled half the town of West, Texas.

District Judge Jim Meyer edivided the lawsuits into three groups. The first group was scheduled for trial on behalf of Kevin Sanders, William Uptmor, and Kenneth Harris.

However, on Monday, the McLennan County website said jurors were excused because “a settlement has been reached.” No further details were released. Lawsuits filed on behalf of hundreds of other people are not affected by the settlement.

Adair Grain, Inc., the owner of West Fertilizer Co., had only $1 million in liability coverage, “with no excess or umbrella coverage.” The blast caused an estimated $200 million in damage. Fertilizer plants like the one in West are not required to have liability insurance, even when they handle hazardous material, state insurance officials told the Dallas Morning News.

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