A West, Texas paramedic was arrested for possession of a destructive device on Friday morning. Hours later, officials announced a criminal investigation will be launched into the fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people.
Texas Department of Public Safety officials declined to say anything more about the investigation and did not say in the statement if the investigation was connected to Bryce Reed's arrest. There's also no confirmation Reed's arrest is connected to the April 17th plant explosion.
Reed, 31, was booked into the McLennan County Jail around 2 a.m. Friday and was later turned over to federal officials.
Reed served as one of the incident commanders during the explosion at the fertilizer plant and he served as a volunteer EMS worker for West, but was placed on leave after the explosion.
Federal officials said in a statement on Friday that deputies from the McLennan County Sheriff's office were called to a house on Tuesday in Abbott, just minutes away from West, where a person found bomb making components that Reed had given to him the previous week.
Reed admitted to officials he had possessed the various components.
A neighbor of Reed tells FOX 4 he went to the ATF after Reed admitted he had a pipe bomb. The neighbor also says Reed got the pipe bomb from Cyrus Reed, a West firefighter killed in the explosion.
Records indicate the bomb making components included a galvanized metal pipe 3 1/2 inches by 1 1/2 inches. Attached to the pipe were two galvanized end caps, one which had a hole drilled in it.
Other items found included hobby fuse, a lighter, scale, coils of metal ribbon and "several pounds of chemical powders in individual bags."
DPS announced Friday morning that the Texas Rangers will launch a criminal investigation into the explosion alongside the McLennan County Sheriff.
"This disaster has severely impacted the community of West, and we want to ensure that no stone goes unturned and that all the facts related to this incident are uncovered," said Director Steven McCraw in a statement.
"The citizens of McLennan County and Texas must have confidence that this incident has been looked at from every angle and professionally handled - they deserve nothing less," said McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara.
Reed made an appearance in federal court in Waco on Friday, but the hearing was closed to media.
His next court appearance is set for May 15. Federal officials say Reed faces up to 10 years in prison and as much as a $250,000 fine if convicted.
In a previous version of this report, we indicated there was a connection between Bryce Reed and the explosion in West, Texas. Such statement was posted in error and as of Friday, May 10 at 10:00 p.m., authorities have not made any such connection.
KDFW FOX 4
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