Paramedic who responded to Texas plant explosion arrested

A mugshot of Bryce Reed, who was charged with possession of a destructive device. Reed is a paramedic who responded to the deadly April 17 explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. McLelland County Sheriffâ??s Office

WACO, Texas A Texas paramedic who helped evacuate people on the night of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West has been charged with possessing bomb-making materials, including a pipe and chemicals.

A criminal complaint unsealed Friday says Bryce Reed has been charged with possession of a destructive device. The McLennan County Sheriff's office says there's no evidence at this time linking Reed's arrest to the fire or explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. that killed 14 people.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent Douglas Kunze says in the complaint that sheriff's deputies were called earlier this week to a home near West where they found a pipe, chemicals and fuses.

They say the objects belonged to Reed, who didn't enter a plea when he appeared in court Friday.

Meanwhile, Texas law enforcement officials launched a criminal investigation into the explosion. Investigators have largely treated the deadly blast as an industrial accident, but the Texas Department of Public Safety said in statement that the agency has now instructed the Texas Rangers and the McLennan County Sheriff's Department to conduct a criminal probe.

"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," DPS Director Steven McCraw said.

The plant blew up on the night of April 17 after a fire erupted at the facility in the rural town.

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said residents "must have confidence that this incident has been looked at from every angle and professionally handled -- they deserve nothing less."

The statement did not detail any further reasons for the criminal investigation and said no further information would be released at this time.

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