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Former West EMT pleads not guilty to federal charge

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TWC News: Former West EMT pleads not guilty to federal charge
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An ex-EMT who responded to the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, now accused of possessing an unregistered destructive device, wants the public to know the federal government has wrongfully charged him.

Bryce Ashley Reed is currently in federal custody without bail. On Wednesday, the 31-year-old chose to stay in jail, and is expected to go before a judge on another day. It's not clear why each side in the case postponed the hearing.

Authorities believe Reed had the materials to make a pipe bomb, which the federal government defines as a firearm.

According to a federal arrest affidavit, the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office was called to an Abbott home on May 7 for a report of a possible explosive device found. At the home, officers discovered what they determined to be bomb-making materials.

Investigators found a short section of metal pipe about 3.5 inches by 1.5 inches, metal caps with a hole drilled (presumably for a fuse), an unknown length of hobby fuse, a lighter, digital scale, six coils of metal ribbon and “several pounds of chemical powders,” according to the affidavit.

The document goes on to state that Reed gave a friend the bomb-making materials on April 26, more than a week after the deadly explosion.

Authorities have not accused Reed of any wrongdoing in connection to the blast.

"He has no involvement in then disaster that happened West, Texas on April 17. There is absolutely no relation,” Reed's attorney Jonathan Sibley said. "We entered a plea of not guilty and we are looking forward to our day in court."

Reed, who was also a volunteer firefighter for the nearby town of Abbott, responded to the blast. He also spoke at the large memorial held in Waco, which honored the 15 people who died in the explosion.

"I don't think there is any evidence showing that he is a danger to the community. I believe he has served his community honorably,” Sibley said. “He has been an EMS worker for a long time, he has family support, he has family ties. I don't think he is a danger to the community."

On Thursday, federal and state investigators are expected to released the findings surrounding the April 17 plant fire that led the massive explosion. No word on when Bryce Reed will have his first day in court.

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