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Texas Launches Criminal Investigation into Plant Explosion

WACO, TX (AP) - Texas law enforcement officials have launched a criminal investigation into last month's deadly fertilizer plant explosion, after weeks of treating it as an industrial accident.

The statement from the Texas Department of Public Safety doesn't say what prompted it to ask the Texas Rangers and the McLennan County Sheriff's Department to conduct a criminal probe. It only says the department wants "to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to the incident are uncovered."

The announcement comes on the same day a paramedic who helped evacuate residents the night of the explosion was arrested on a charge of possessing a destructive device.  It's not clear whether the charge has any connection to the April 17th explosion that killed 14 people and devastated the rural town of West.

Bryce Reed was one of several paramedics who helped evacuate residents from nearby apartments after a fire erupted at West Fertilizer Co. The blast occurred a short time later.

Reed was booked early today and turned over to agents from the Bureau of Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.  He made an initial court appearance in federal court in Waco, but has not entered a plea.

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