Five stories that have North Texas talking: A suspect has yet to be named in West fertilizer plant explosion; there’s an arm wrestling competition happening on Saturday; stay aware of highway closures this weekend; and more.
The explosion at Adair Grain and West Fertilizer Company in West, Texas three years ago was a criminal act. This was disclosed to the public just two days ago.
The incident killed 15 people, injured 160 and destroyed a nearby middle school, nursing home and apartment complex along with several other neighborhood homes. The origins of the explosion were determined to be criminal after a lengthy investigation and 400 interviews conducted by Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Texas state fire marshal’s office.
NPR reported: “The ATF said the investigation, which so far has cost $2 million, is ongoing and offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the fire.”
The lack of closure after three years of stagnate uncertainty the community worries John Crowder, senior pastor at First Baptist Church. He spoke with Texas Standard:
“The ATF has told us that the fire was set intentionally. It doesn’t mean that someone intended the explosion,” he says. “For whatever reason they might have been setting a fire … I just can’t even begin to imagine that anyone intentionally caused the explosion itself. Hopefully, as the community starts looking at one another trying to answer questions, I hope we can keep that distinction in mind.”
- Hundreds of arm wrestlers will compete Dallas on Saturday for the World Armwrestling League's 2016 Southern Regional Championship. GuideLive reported: “This year's competitors, both men and women, are ‘soldiers, firefighters, bankers, engineers, teachers and stay-at-home parents,’ says League chief operating officer Ben Murray. Most are ‘professional pullers’ — the term for armwrestlers who regularly compete — though there's also an amateur division.” Winners will go on to compete in Las Vegas for the World Armwrestling League 2016 Championships on ESPN this summer. The competition kicks off at 1 p.m. at Gilley’s on South Lamar Street in Dallas. [GuideLive]
The event is free for the public, but be sure you can handle it.
- Southbound I-35E will be closed for construction on Saturday starting at 10 p.m. All lanes will be closed, including the southbound I-35E exit to eastbound I-30, according to a press release. But the southbound I-35E exit to westbound 1-30 will remain open. During the closure, all southbound I-35 traffic will be directed to take exit 429A toward U.S.75/I-45 via Woodall Rodgers Freeway to access both southbound I-35E and eastbound I-30. Access will be restored by 10 a.m. Sunday, but all work is subject to weather conditions and may be postponed if necessary. The closure is a part of the ongoing Dallas Horseshoe project. See more closures. [Dallas Horseshoe Project]
- Gov. Greg Abbott recalls contentious-yet-humourous meeting with President Obama in new memoir. As their December 2014 conversation concerning Obama’s executive order on immigration was wrapping up, “Obama rose from his chair, ‘put his hand on my arm again and, with that same wry smile we’ve all seen on TV, asked a question.’ ‘So…Greg…Can I get you to drop that lawsuit?’ the president asked, according to Abbott,” The Texas Tribune reported. Abbott included the scene in his new book, “Broken But Unbowed,” which was available for the first time Thursday at the Texas GOP convention in Dallas, where he spoke to fellow Republicans. Read more about Abbott’s book. [The Texas Tribune]
- State of the Arts will take place at 7 p.m. in the Renzo Piano Pavilion. State of the Arts is a conversation series with North Texas artists and art leaders, but this tonight’s event will be the first to host the leader of Fort Worth’s three premier art museums. Art&Seek’s Jerome Weeks will lead a discussion with Andrew Walker, of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art; Eric M. Lee of the Kimbell Art Museum and Marla Price, from Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The event is free and open to the public. More details. [Art&Seek]