TODAY   |  May 11, 2013

Volunteer paramedic arrested in West, Tex.

Investigators have launched a criminal probe into the cause of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Tex. As the town recovers from the tragedy, it’s dealing with another shock: the arrest of a paramedic who helped the victims. NBC’s Gabe Gutierrez reports.

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>>> now launched a criminal investigation into the explosion. that's not all. a paramedic who helped the victims is in federal custody. is there a link between the two? nbc's gabe gutierrez is in the town of west, texas with the very latest this morning. gabe, good morning.

>> reporter: erica, good morning. this is the apartment complex torn apart by last month's explosion. in that bizarre twist that paramedic is in federal custody arrested and accused of having bomb making components, although federal officials are not linking him to the blast. a west volunteer paramedic who helped evacuate residents the night of the april blast --

>> he lived as if tomorrow was not an option.

>> reporter: and even spoke at the memorial service for the 12 fallen first responders has been arrested. bryce reed is charged with possessing a destructive device. court documents allege that the 31-year-old paramedic admitted to possessing the components of a pipe bomb including a 3.5-inch pipe, a fuse, and chemical powders. federal officials say late april reed gave the materials to a friend who became suspicious and called the local sheriff's office. nbc news has not been able to reach reed's attorney for comment. crystal adain has been the paramedic's neighbor for at least three years.

>> i just don't believe that -- i don't believe it. i don't think he had anything to do with the fertilizer plant at all.

>> reporter: authorities say they will not speculate whether the arrest has any connection to the plant explosion, but on friday the texas department of public safety and the local sheriff's office announced they were launching a criminal investigation into the blast that killed at least 14 people and injured more than 200. until now, the fire and explosion last month at the west fertilizer company had been largely thought of as an industrial accident . the initial report into what caused the fire and the explosion here is not expected for at least several weeks, erica.

>> all right. gabe gutierrez this morning. thanks.

>>> let's get the rest of