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Volunteer firefighters killed in West blast ‘still heroes’ after toxicology results

Two firefighters had alcohol levels above the legal limit to drive, one had trace amounts of marijuana — none of which affected the outcome

By Brandon Formby and Sarah Mervosh
The Dallas Morning News

WEST, Texas — Nothing could have stopped fire captains Bob and Doug Snokhous from responding to the raging fire at West’s fertilizer plant. Danger didn’t deter them. Neither did the department’s alcohol policy prohibiting firefighters from duty while intoxicated.

The brothers were among the 15 people killed when ammonium nitrate at the plant exploded in West on April 17. The amount of alcohol in the brothers’ systems at the time was higher than the legal limit to drive, autopsy reports show. Abbott volunteer firefighter Jerry Chapman, who also responded and died, had traces of marijuana in his system.

But experts and people familiar with the situation said none of that probably affected the outcome of the deadly and devastating explosion. Instead, they say, it shows the three refused to stand idly by during the farming community’s greatest disaster.

Full story: Volunteer firefighters killed in blast ‘still heroes’ after toxicology report