West, Texas, paramedic 'vigorously denies' link to explosion

HOUSTON — A paramedic arrested for possessing bomb-making materials after he responded to the massive fertilizer plant fire in West, Texas, has denied any connection between the fire and the charges he faces.

Bryce Reed, 31, released a statement through his attorney Saturday saying he "vigorously denies" charges filed against him Friday. He is accused of passing bomb-making materials to a resident in nearby Abbott, Texas, where they were discovered by the West bomb squad on Tuesday, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives officials who arrested him.

The complaint detailed the materials found, including a 3.5-inch length of galvanized metal pipe with two galvanized end caps attached, one of which had a 1/8-inch hole drilled in it. There were also canisters containing hobby fuse, a lighter, a digital scale, a plastic spoon and six coils of metal ribbon.

There were also several pounds of chemical powders in individual bags, including potassium nitrate, potassium perchlorate, aluminum powder, red iron oxide, ammonium perchlorate, sulfur powder, air float charcoal and Eckart 10890 German dark aluminum. An ATF chemist and explosives expert confirmed the material could be used to make a bomb.

According to the complaint, Reed "admitted to possessing the components of the pipe bomb." But his attorney told the Los Angeles Times they were still investigating the information detailed in the complaint and that Reed "disputes the allegations."

Reed did not enter a plea when he appeared in Waco federal court on Friday via video conference, and said Saturday he planned to plead not guilty.

"At this point in time, we have not been able to obtain specific information about the extent of the allegations, but Mr. Reed anxiously awaits his day in court and his opportunity to address these allegations," said the statement released to The Times by Reed's Waco-based attorney, Jonathan Sibley.

The Texas Fire Marshal's office is still investigating what caused the April 17 fire and explosion, which killed 14 and injured more than 160 in the town of 2,800, about 76 miles south of Dallas.

Flags fly over the West Fertilizer Co. explosion site in West, Texas on Friday. Texas law enforcement officials on Friday launched a criminal investigation into the massive fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people last month, after weeks of largely treating the blast as an industrial accident.

Dallas Morning News

Flags fly over the West Fertilizer Co. explosion site in West, Texas on Friday. Texas law enforcement officials on Friday launched a criminal investigation into the massive fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people last month, after weeks of largely treating the blast as an industrial accident.

West, Texas, paramedic 'vigorously denies' link to explosion 05/11/13 [Last modified: Sunday, May 12, 2013 12:44am]

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