TEXAS NOW RALLYING TO RECOVER FROM FERTILIZER PLANT FIRE - Unanswered questions and further investigations are still a part of West, Texas following the fire at the local fertilizer plant last week. At this time, the cause of the fire remains unknown. The blast which killed at least 14 people, left over 200 injured and according to search and rescue teams; one or two people unaccounted for.
A member of VFW Post 4819, lowers the U.S. flag to half staff in memory of victims of the West Fertilizer Company explosion April 18.
Now, nearly a week later, the town is trying to re-establish itself. Many residents had their homes damaged or totally obliterated by the explosion, the secondary fires it caused ad by flying debris; u this isn’t stopping them. Homeowners who lived at the edge of the blast radius have been allowed to return to their properties today to assess damage and begin repairs. With looting being an issue, law enforcement has enacted an evening curfew that runs from 7pm to 7am with the streets being heavily patrolled.
This is all that is left of one school building.
School will be in session on Monday, despite the fact that only one of the town’s four schools is still standing and considered safe. Local schools in Grapevine Colleyville school district and McLennan County are providing portable classrooms to house the fourth and fifth graders and cleaning out a previously closed high school for use.
In a news conference, Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the explosion “stunning” and said it was amazing that more people weren’t killed given the strength of the explosion, which fused nearby railroad tracks and obliterated the fertilizer depot. These comments have sparked conversation and debate concerning zoning laws and legislation that even allowed a plant of this magnitude to be located near residential and school areas. This will be looked into further and changes may be made concerning the laws currently on the books.
Residents join in a candle light vigil in remembrance of those who lost their lives or were injured in the massive explosion at the fertilizer plant.
With much of the news this week being focused on the Boston Marathon Bombing, it could be expected that the small town of West would feel pushed aside for bigger news, but nothing could be further from the truth. Once their story hit the media, the public and the nation responded swiftly and kept track of news through social media like Facebook and Twitter.
As a result, the outpouring of aid has been enormous, and sometimes hard to handle. Mayor Muska has asked people to make donations to the Red Cross because “we’ve hit saturation point on receiving stuff.” Food, clothing and furniture were still coming in, but “we’re running out of places to put it,” he said. At this time, monies would be used for helping residents to repair damage done to their homes and property.
Please keep in mind also that it will be a long time before this town is back on its feet and it will happen in stages with different needs as progress moves along. Many of the townspeople once worked at the plant are now unemployed, homeless and injured. It is a difficult spot to be in.
Supplies including food, clothing furniture and materials for re-building have been generously given.
In addition to the public outpouring, President Obama issued an emergency declaration and pledged federal disaster relief aid to help West recover and vowed that the community would get the resources it needs to rebuild.