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Published On: Fri, May 10th, 2013

Bryce Reed, EMT at Texas plant explosion, charged after police found IED

A first responder who helped treat victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last month was arrested and charged Friday with possessing an explosive device.

The arrest came on the same day that Texas authorities opened a criminal investigation into the April 17 explosion.

Paramedic Bryce Reed, who works with the West, Texas, EMS and served as incident commander during the response to the explosion, appeared in federal court in Waco, Texas, this morning for alleged possession of a destructive device.

Bryce Reed

Bryce Reed

According to the charges filed against Reed, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office was called to a residence in Abbot, Texas, on Tuesday because of a possible destructive device, and arrived to find powders, metals and canisters filled with bomb-making materials.

An official with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said in an affidavit that officials found a metal pipe, canisters of fuses, a lighter, a digital scale, a plastic spoon, coils of metal and several pounds of chemicals at the residence and determined that they belonged to Reed. The resident of the home said that he had unknowingly accepted the materials from Reed on April 26.

Later it was described as a pipe bomb by an unnamed police source who spoke with a Houston radio station.

Reed was not charged for any crime connected to the plant explosion, which killed 15 individuals and burned much of the property in West, and authorities would not say whether they believed there was any connection between Reed’s arrest and the explosion.

His next court appearance will be on Wednesday. Reed faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Reed later admitted to possessing the materials, the court documents said.

Press release:

The State Fire Marshal’s office has not determined – or ruled out – whether the fire was a criminal act or accidental. The agency also has not determined the cause of the fire that preceded the deadly explosion, believed to be fueled largely by ammonium nitrate kept at the plant. Rachel Moreno, a spokeswoman for the fire agency, said Friday she could not comment on Reed’s arrest.

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw and McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara released a joint statement Friday morning about their criminal investigation. Neither mentioned Reed’s arrest. “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,” McNamara said.

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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