Nursing home settles with fertilizer suppliers whose products exploded, leveling building

Share this content:

A Texas nursing home has settled a lawsuit filed in the wake of a 2013 fertilizer explosion that leveled the facility and forced residents to evacuate.

Details of the settlement with fertilizer manufacturers CF Industries, El Dorado Chemical Company and the International Chemical Company were not disclosed. Those companies stored their chemicals at West Fertilizer Company, where an explosion killed 15 people, flattened 500 homes in the community near Waco and injured more than 200 people.

The blast ignited 270 tons of ammonium nitrate and displaced all 133 residents at West Rest Haven, a 145-bed, 55,000-square-foot facility just 200 yards away.

Some residents were injured, and one died the night of the explosion.

Afterward, survivors moved to a dozen different facilities across Central Texas. Then-administrator Rose Ann Morris and others involved in their care questioned whether the tragedy might have hastened the deaths of 14 others over the next two months.

In 2015, West Rest Haven opened a new 120-bed facility.

“We will continue our mission to serve the community's senior population and take care of our residents with love and compassion, putting their needs first to the best of our ability,” Robby Payne, president of the board of directors at West Rest Haven, said in a press release.

West Rest Haven was represented by Harrison Davis Steakley Morrison Jones, the same law firm representing 10 victims' families and 75 of the injured.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives ruled the explosion a criminal act, but no one has ever been charged with setting the fire that ignited it. Total insurance losses were estimated at $100 million.

The force felt was equivalent to that of a magnitude-2.1 earthquake, and investigators from the U.S. Chemical Safety Board later said the explosion was preventable.