Federal, state and local fire officials have concluded that the cause of a May 29 blaze at a farm supply facility in Athens, Texas, that stored ammonium nitrate fertilizer is “undetermined.”
The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) and the Athens Fire Department, along with Henderson County Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Dallas Field Division have concluded their scene investigation at East Texas AG Supply in Athens, and all have ruled the cause of the fire as undetermined.
“The fire originated in the northwest quadrant of the building, at ceiling level,” said Athens Fire Chief John McQueary. According to Chief McQueary, “based on the origin of the fire, the only causes that could not be eliminated are related to an electrical failure.”
State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said, “Per national guidelines and standards, the fire will be classified as undetermined because the ignition source and the first material ignited could not be determined.”
Weather was not a factor, and there is no evidence or indication that a criminal or intentional act caused the fire.
The federal, state and local authorities will finalize the fire investigation report in upcoming weeks.
There was no explosion and no injuries were reported as a result of the fire. The Dallas Morning News reported that the facility had received 70 tons of ammonium nitrate on the day of the fire. The East Texas AG Supply property has been released to the owner, the SFMO said.
Source: Texas Department of Insurance, State Fire Marshal’s Office