Texas Locales Turn Fire Marshals Away

August 27, 2013 04:22 AM

stephen f austin lIn wake of the tragic explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer depot, fire marshals in that state have been conducting inspections of other, similar locations. The inspections are voluntary, aimed at maintaining safety. However, a short list of locations have refused the inspections.

Texas fire marshals suggest the blast in West was possibly caused by an electrical problem, however they have not yet completely ruled out criminal activity. The inspections are not required, and the locations which refused the marshals' visits were within their rights to do so.

This is Texas doing what Texas does best, and the reason we all remember the Alamo. The refusals could prompt lawmakers to require the inspections which would make this another matter. The regulatory environment is bound to sour on fertilizer whether suppliers allow voluntary inspections or not. The locations that refused inspections say they simply did not want the fire marshal on the property.

Some would raise eyebrows at this, and we may have the tinder in place to set off a firestorm of regulation. But there is nothing illegal or even shady about refusing a voluntary inspection from the fire marshal. The trouble is, next time the fire marshals come knocking, they may have papers in hand requiring the inspections. In that scenario, the response of Texas fertilizer depots and other inspection sites will set the tone for future inspections.

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