West Plant Explosion http://kut.org en Report: West Responders Weren't Prepared to Fight Fertilizer Plant Fire http://kut.org/post/report-west-responders-werent-prepared-fight-fertilizer-plant-fire <p>The Texas State Fire Marshal’s Office says the deaths of 12 people responding to <a href="http://kut.org/post/officials-15-dead-200-injured-west-texas-explosion" target="_blank">last year’s explosion</a> at the West Fertilizer plant could have been prevented.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.tdi.texas.gov/reports/fire/documents/fmloddwest.pdf">Fire Marshal’s report [PDF</a>] released Thursday night says the first responders killed in the April 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West,Texas &nbsp;were not prepared or equipped to deal with such a dangerous situation.</p><p>The report says that is not because the first responders failed to perform their duties as they had been trained, but due to a “systemic deficiency in the training and preparation” of the firefighters.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/149827007&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Fri, 16 May 2014 13:28:23 +0000 Laura Rice 10433 at http://kut.org Report: West Responders Weren't Prepared to Fight Fertilizer Plant Fire Investigation: Disaster at West Fertilizer Plant Was 'Preventable' http://kut.org/post/investigation-disaster-west-fertilizer-plant-was-preventable <p><em><a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2014/04/22/investigation-fire-and-explosion-at-west-fertilizer-plant-was-preventable/">From StateImpact&nbsp;Texas:</a></em></p><p>A year after a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas, a federal agency is releasing a&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.csb.gov/assets/1/19/West_Preliminary_Findings.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">report</a>&nbsp;saying the disaster was preventable.</p><p style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">The&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.csb.gov/" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">Chemical Safety Board</a>, which investigates chemical accidents and issues recommendations to ensure public safety, is presenting its preliminary findings tonight in the town of West, Texas, where the fire and subsequent explosion last year took 15 lives, injured hundreds, and destroyed homes and schools.</p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:12:40 +0000 Terrence Henry 10278 at http://kut.org Investigation: Disaster at West Fertilizer Plant Was 'Preventable' Year Since West Fertilizer Plant Explosion is One 'Full of Questioning' http://kut.org/post/year-west-fertilizer-plant-explosion-one-full-questioning <p>It’s been one year since a fertilizer plant exploded in the town of West, Texas – just north of Waco.<br />15 people were killed and more than 150 were injured.&nbsp;Dozens of buildings were also destroyed in the blast.</p><p>A year later there are many signs of recovery and rebuilding in the small town.<br />But,&nbsp;for some, the rebuilding process has been difficult.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">West resident Loretta </span>Volcik<span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;says overall, the past year has been filled with one thing: Questioning.</span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/145217851&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p></p><p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 22:09:29 +0000 Kate McGee 10246 at http://kut.org Year Since West Fertilizer Plant Explosion is One 'Full of Questioning' What's Being Done To Prevent Another Fertilizer Plant Explosion? http://kut.org/post/whats-being-done-prevent-another-fertilizer-plant-explosion A year ago today, a deadly blast tore through the small community of West, Texas, killing 15 people and injuring hundreds. Homes and schools were destroyed.<p>The explosion at the West fertilizer plant was one of the worst industrial accidents in Texas history. Thu, 17 Apr 2014 18:18:32 +0000 10241 at http://kut.org What's Being Done To Prevent Another Fertilizer Plant Explosion? What's Been Done to Prevent Another West? http://kut.org/post/whats-been-done-prevent-another-west <p><em>WBUR's "Here and Now" aired this story today. <a href="http://kut.org/post/whats-being-done-prevent-another-fertilizer-plant-explosion">See more here.</a></em></p><p><a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2014/04/17/whats-being-done-to-prevent-another-west/">From StateImpact&nbsp;Texas:&nbsp;</a></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">WEST, TX - Trucks and bulldozers are still working here, the site of an explosion a year ago today. A </span><a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2013/04/22/after-west-fertilizer-explosion-concerns-over-safety-regulation-and-zoning/" style="line-height: 1.5;">deadly blast tore</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> through this small community, killing fifteen and injuring hundreds. Homes and schools were destroyed, with the damage estimated to be over a hundred million dollars.&nbsp;</span></p><p>There's a lone charred tree that still stands at the location of the blast, but other than that, the site is mostly empty. Crosses and memorials that read "West Strong" and "West is the Best" line the road.</p><p>The explosion at the West fertilizer plant was one of the worst industrial disasters in Texas history. So what's Texas doing to prevent it from happening again?</p><p>"Well, technically, nothing has been done," says state Rep. Joe Pickett (D-El Paso), chair of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee. Pickett says since West happened <a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2013/05/01/hearing-on-west-fertilizer-explosion-shows-lack-of-regulation-and-coordination/">near the end of the legislative session</a>, he didn't want to rush in any "knee-jerk" rules or regulations.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/145081521&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 17 Apr 2014 17:44:24 +0000 Terrence Henry 10240 at http://kut.org What's Been Done to Prevent Another West? West Gets $4.8 Million to Fix Water System http://kut.org/post/west-gets-48-million-fix-water-system <p>The Texas town of <a href="http://www.cityofwest.com/">West</a> is getting <a href="http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/19588/">$4.85 million more</a> to help recover from the fertilizer plant explosion that happened one year ago this week. Fifteen people were killed and hundreds injured in the blast on April 17, 2013.&nbsp;</p><p>Governor Perry authorized the funding a day before a ceremony to mark the first anniversary of the disaster. West Mayor Tommy Muska didn't question the timing of the grant.</p><p>"It shows a lot of cooperation between local, state and federal that we can come together and secure these funds within one day of the anniversary and move forward," Muska told KUT.&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:43:50 +0000 Nathan Bernier 10236 at http://kut.org West Gets $4.8 Million to Fix Water System Before the West Explosion, There Was Texas City http://kut.org/post/west-explosion-there-was-texas-city <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">April&nbsp;17&nbsp;marks exactly a year since one of the biggest industrial disasters in American history: the </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/officials-15-dead-200-injured-west-texas-explosion" style="line-height: 1.5;">explosion at the fertilizer plant in West, Texas</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> that left 15 people dead, more than 150 injured, and large parts of the town flattened and destroyed.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Shocking as it was, the West explosion is not the worst industrial disaster in American history. That&nbsp;anniversary is&nbsp;today, April&nbsp;16 – marking 67 years since the Gulf Coast town of Texas City was razed.</span>&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/145022210&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 16 Apr 2014 20:35:42 +0000 David Brown 10234 at http://kut.org Before the West Explosion, There Was Texas City A 'Roller Coaster' Year For Texas Town Rocked By Blast http://kut.org/post/roller-coaster-year-texas-town-rocked-blast When firetrucks blew through the small town of West, Texas, on the evening of April 17, 2013, sirens screaming, naturally everybody was curious. People got in their cars and went to see the fire at the West fertilizer plant. For 10 minutes, they watched from cars and backyards as the fire grew ever bigger. A few moved as close as they could because they were filming on their smartphones. At no time did it occur to anybody that they might be in danger.<p>And then — a massive explosion. The men fighting the fire at the plant never had a chance. Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:41:23 +0000 Wade Goodwyn, NPR 10215 at http://kut.org A 'Roller Coaster' Year For Texas Town Rocked By Blast Investigation Into West, Texas Explosion Stopped Due to Shutdown http://kut.org/post/investigation-west-texas-explosion-stopped-due-shutdown <p>The government shutdown has halted <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/cause-blast-west-fertilizer-plant-explosion-still-unknown">the federal investigation</a> into the <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/officials-15-dead-200-injured-west-texas-explosion" target="_blank">West Fertilizer Plant explosion</a>. The explosion in April killed 15 people and injured hundreds of others.</p><p>&ldquo;Some of the brightest scientists in the world are home today rather than doing their work to protect, and give us information so that we can have the right rules and regulations to protect our environment,&rdquo; Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, said during a press conference yesterday. &ldquo;The monitoring and enforcement is not being done as it should be done.&rdquo; Cardin chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife.</p><p>The ranks of furloughed workers includes most employees on the Chemical Safety Board, which <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/federal-agency-claims-it-was-shut-out-west-investigation" target="_blank">investigates industrial accidents</a> such as the West Fertilizer Plant explosion.</p><p> Wed, 09 Oct 2013 16:30:33 +0000 Emily Mathis & Laura Rice 8889 at http://kut.org Investigation Into West, Texas Explosion Stopped Due to Shutdown VIDEO: The First Festival in West, Texas Since the Explosion http://kut.org/post/video-first-festival-west-texas-explosion <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="439" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/9KzyxMcCN2U" width="585"></iframe></p><p>Residents of the town of West, Texas came out over the weekend to enjoy their annual Labor Day festival<strong style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;–&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.westfest.com/" style="line-height: 1.5;">Westfest</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. With plenty of beer, sausage, polka music and rides, it’s a celebration of the town’s Czech heritage.&nbsp;</span></p> Tue, 03 Sep 2013 16:32:46 +0000 Kate McGee & Filipa Rodrigues 8589 at http://kut.org VIDEO: The First Festival in West, Texas Since the Explosion Back to School in West, Four Months After Plant Explosion http://kut.org/post/back-school-west-four-months-after-plant-explosion <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F107306932&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Students are heading back to school in West, Texas today.&nbsp;Many of them will be going back to temporary classrooms.&nbsp;That’s because April’s deadly explosion at the West Fertilizer Plant destroyed most of the city’s public schools, along with hundreds of homes.</p><p> Mon, 26 Aug 2013 14:32:47 +0000 Jenny Dubin 8537 at http://kut.org Back to School in West, Four Months After Plant Explosion Federal Disaster Declaration Approved for West, Texas http://kut.org/post/federal-disaster-declaration-approved-west-texas <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">It looks like a denial of federal aid to West, Texas will be overturned.</span></p><p>This morning, Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement saying West – the site of a <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/officials-15-dead-200-injured-west-texas-explosion">devastating fertilizer plant explosion</a> that claimed 15 lives and flattened entire city blocks – would benefit from a Major Disaster Declaration.</p> Fri, 02 Aug 2013 16:30:46 +0000 Wells Dunbar 8449 at http://kut.org Federal Disaster Declaration Approved for West, Texas Explosion Could Leave West, Texas Students in Portables For Years http://kut.org/post/explosion-could-leave-west-texas-students-portables-years <p>Federal emergency officials have approved a $2.9 million grant for temporary structures to house students in schools devastated by the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion.&nbsp;</p><p>The blast on April 17 killed 15 people and injured dozens others.&nbsp;</p><p> Mon, 29 Jul 2013 20:17:16 +0000 Kate McGee 8423 at http://kut.org Explosion Could Leave West, Texas Students in Portables For Years After West Blast, U.S. Senator Calls for Safer Fertilizer Storage http://kut.org/post/after-west-blast-us-senator-calls-safer-fertilizer-storage <p>A U.S. Senator who oversees environmental regulation is <a href="http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Majority.PressReleases&amp;ContentRecord_id=c48081a5-e7ac-39c4-31ea-9aea92bf98d8">urging state governors</a> to increase safety standards for the storage of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium_nitrate">ammonium nitrate</a> in the wake of the <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/anhydrous-ammonia-ammonium-nitrate-west-explosion-chemicals">explosion in West</a>.&nbsp; Fifteen people were killed in April when a fertilizer plant exploded in the town just north of Waco.</p><p>California Democrat <a href="http://www.boxer.senate.gov/">Barbara Boxer </a>chairs the <a href="http://www.epw.senate.gov/public/?CFID=70864895&amp;CFTOKEN=73379336">U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works</a>.</p><p>“If there’s even one more tragic death from improper storage of ammonium nitrate, we’ll have lost this opportunity. We have the information. The information is power. And the people who have power need to do something about this," Boxer said during <a href="http://youtu.be/IFa9wHHHcRQ">a news conference</a> Tuesday.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 09 Jul 2013 23:46:40 +0000 Nathan Bernier 8327 at http://kut.org After West Blast, U.S. Senator Calls for Safer Fertilizer Storage West ISD Demolishing Schools Damaged by Plant Explosion http://kut.org/post/west-isd-demolishing-schools-damaged-plant-explosion <p>April’s fertilizer plant explosion left three of the four schools in the town of West, Texas&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/three-four-west-isd-school-buildings-must-be-partly-fully-demolished-after-explosion">destroyed or irreparably damaged</a>, with the intermediate school completely flattened by the blast.</p><p>But, when school starts in August, the district says students won't have to be bused to other districts.</p><p> Fri, 05 Jul 2013 14:22:42 +0000 Kate McGee 8294 at http://kut.org West ISD Demolishing Schools Damaged by Plant Explosion FEMA Deadline Today for West http://kut.org/post/fema-deadline-today-west-tx <p>Today is the deadline for people in West to apply for federal assistance.</p><p>It’s been nearly eight weeks since the <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/cause-blast-west-fertilizer-plant-explosion-still-unknown" target="_blank">April 17 fertilizer plant explosion</a> that killed 15 people and destroyed around 150 homes. So far, FEMA has registered 789 survivors and allocated $7.6 million to assist in the recovery.</p><p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 12:34:00 +0000 Hady Karl Mawajdeh 8147 at http://kut.org FEMA Deadline Today for West FEMA Denies Rebuilding Aid to West, Texas (Update) http://kut.org/post/fema-denies-rebuilding-aid-west-texas-update <p><strong>Update: </strong>The Federal Emergency Management Agency is refusing to provide money to help rebuild the town of West after April’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion.</p><p>FEMA has approved more than $7 million in aid and loans to West residents impacted by the blast, but has denied assistance for things like crisis counseling, legal services, and unemployment assistance. &nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 12 Jun 2013 22:04:46 +0000 Kate McGee & Wells Dunbar 8092 at http://kut.org FEMA Denies Rebuilding Aid to West, Texas (Update) Federal Agency Claims It Was Shut Out of West Investigation http://kut.org/post/federal-agency-claims-it-was-shut-out-west-investigation <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The head of the <a href="http://www.csb.gov/">U.S. Chemical Safety Board</a> (</span>CSB<span style="line-height: 1.5;">) says other government agencies are getting in the way of its investigation into the fertilizer plant explosion in West.</span></p><p>In<a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/702975-senator-boxer-letter-final-5-17-13-final.html"> a letter to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer</a>, CSB chairman Rafael Moure-Eraso says the <a href="http://www.atf.gov/">Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives</a> blocked CSB investigators from accessing the site for a month, and "altered or removed almost all relevant physical evidence from the site."</p><p> Wed, 22 May 2013 01:00:36 +0000 Nathan Bernier 7833 at http://kut.org Federal Agency Claims It Was Shut Out of West Investigation Texas Students Solve Math Problems for West Recovery http://kut.org/post/texas-students-solve-math-problems-west-recovery <p>Students across Texas helped raise $11,367 to the American Red Cross<a href="http://www.redcross.org/news/article/West-TX-Disaster-Response-FAQs">&nbsp; West, Texas Relief Fund</a>.</p><p>How'd they do it? By solving math problems.&nbsp;</p><p> Mon, 20 May 2013 17:27:41 +0000 Kate McGee 7795 at http://kut.org Texas Students Solve Math Problems for West Recovery Cause of Blast in West Fertilizer Plant Explosion Still Unknown http://kut.org/post/cause-blast-west-fertilizer-plant-explosion-still-unknown <p>State and federal fire officials say it’s still unclear what caused a fire that led to the e<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/what-it-was-west-texas-day-after-explosion">xplosion at a fertilizer plant </a>in the town of West. The investigation will remain open. Despite many unknowns, residents are trying to move forward.</p><p>On North Reagan Street, the only sounds you hear are screeching grackles and the occasional resident returning to what’s left of his or her home.&nbsp; Nearly every house on this street is destroyed. Windows and doors are blown out. Roofs caved in. Broken furniture is scattered across lawns. There is a stench in the air that originates from a fly covered refrigerator. Someone has written "Do Not Open, Spoiled Meat" on the front.</p><p> Fri, 17 May 2013 13:49:32 +0000 Kate McGee 7774 at http://kut.org Cause of Blast in West Fertilizer Plant Explosion Still Unknown