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EMT at Texas explosion worked in N.M.

LAS CRUCES – A paramedic who responded to the West, Texas, explosion and was separately charged with possessing bomb-making materials has ties to Las Cruces.

Bryce Ashley Reed, 31, was indicted this week on a federal charge of possessing materials that could be used to make a pipe bomb. He pleaded not guilty Wednesday.

He has not been accused of any wrongdoing in connection with the fertilizer-plant explosion.

Town of Mesilla Fire Chief Kevin Hoban recalled that Reed served as a paramedic for the air ambulance provider in Doña Ana County, which has since changed companies.

“He was a flight medic,” Hoban said. “It is the same guy.”

Bryce Ashley Reed was authorized as an EMT-paramedic in New Mexico between March 2008 and March 2010, when his license expired, according to David Morgan, regional spokesman for the department of health. “He was previously a paramedic from Texas,” Morgan said in an email. Reed was listed as having lived in Las Cruces, Morgan said.

Reed was among emergency crews that responded to the fire and explosion in West, which killed 15 people. Documents show he lost his job with the West EMS unit two days later.

Reed’s attorney, Jonathan Sibley, said his client pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the federal charge of unlawfully possessing a firearm.

“We absolutely dispute these allegations,” he said in a phone interview.

Sibley emphasized there’s no evidence linking Reed to the April 17 explosion. “He definitely and unequivocally had nothing to do with the West, Texas, explosion,” said Sibley, who’s based in Waco.

Reed is alleged to have dropped off on April 26 at another person’s house the components of a destructive device, including a capped segment of galvanized pipe, fuse, a lighter, a digital scale and several pounds of chemical powders, according to court documents. He didn’t have a permit to possess that category of what’s considered a “firearm” under the federal definition, court records state.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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