Texas County Threatens to Charge ATF After Detonating Explosives that Triggered Mass Fire

By Allan Lengel

ATF has rubbed the Motley County, Tex., government the wrong way.

The city attorney Tom Edwards says ATF could face Class C misdemeanor charges for violating the county’s burn ban after the agency detonated unwanted explosives, which triggered a fire that scorched 150 acres of land, according to the Plainview Daily Herald.

“We have the federal government that has just refused aid to the state of Texas for all our fire damage throughout the state, and then here comes federal agents who start another fire,” Edwards told KCBD-TV.

The Plainview paper reported that Jim Luera, resident agent in charge for the ATF in Lubbock, took full responsibility for the fire. It took close to six hours to extinguish the blaze.

Luera said ATF detonated the explosives because it had a mounting stockpile, the paper reported. He said the detonations were used as a training exercise for bomb squads from several area cities.

He said landowners would be reimbursed for the damage, the paper reported.

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