West Plant Explosion

West Plant Explosion
11:49 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Bodies Of First Responders Identified From Texas Explosion

A view of the devastation from the fertilizer plant blast on Wednesday in West, Texas.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 12:22 pm

Authorities have identified four more sets of remains of first responders who battled last week's fire and explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. Wednesday's blast killed at least 14 people and injured more than 200, according to officials cited by The Associated Press.

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West Plant Explosion
11:32 am
Mon April 22, 2013

How Austin Can Help West, Texas

Austinites are encouraged to donate blood to help victims of the West fertilizer plant explosion.
Marissa Barnett for KUT News

Update: Students in the town of West are back in class today for the first time since Wednesday’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion. Some school buildings were destroyed or damaged by the blast.

Older students are taking classes at an old school building in a nearby district. Some younger students are in portable classrooms. STAAR exams scheduled for Tuesday there are being delayed. For those who'd like to donate, the West Independent School District says monetary donations are best

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West Plant Explosion
6:52 am
Mon April 22, 2013

After Fertilizer Explosion, Concern Over Safety, Regulation & Zoning

Candlelight vigil in West.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The investigation into what caused the fire at the West Fertilizer Plant that led to Wednesday's explosion is still ongoing. But officials say they’ve found no sign of criminal activity.

Listen to the Radio Story: Issues of Safety and Regulation Come to Light

Investigators will also look into any safety or regulatory issues at the plant. But even at this early stage, there are signs that not all was right with the plant. The disaster has also brought up questions about how well regulation of facilities like these works in Texas.

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West Plant Explosion
2:52 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Officials: 15 Dead, 200 Injured in West, Texas Explosion

An aerial shot of the site of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas.
facebook.com/TexasAttorneyGeneral

Update (Saturday): As of 3 p.m. today, some residents of West, the site of a major explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday, will be allowed back into their homes in part of the severely damaged neighborhood in the north section of town. 

Residents 18 and over living in the area from Walnut street southward will be allowed to enter until 7 p.m. From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the city will have a curfew, and residents will need to either stay in their homes or leave the neighborhood. North of that area, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek said at a press conference this afternoon that the city will work "as quickly as possible"to allow people back to their homes. More information for residents is available at the City of West's website.

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West Plant Explosion
10:19 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Officials Seek Answers In Aftermath Of Deadly Plant Explosion

An explosion leveled a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on Wednesday. The blast killed 14 people, injured more than 200 others and damaged or completely destroyed at least 80 homes.
Charlie Riedel AP

Originally published on Sat April 20, 2013 3:47 pm

With the house-to-house search over and the living and dead largely accounted for, the town of West, Texas, began the transition from shock and disbelief to communal grieving.

On Friday night, mourners gathered at St. Mary Church of the Assumption to remember the dead. Many of the dead were first responders who were fighting a roaring fire for 30 minutes before the explosion, which was felt 80 miles away in Fort Worth.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn caused a stir when he suggested that there might be many more people missing than thought.

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West Plant Explosion
6:45 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

As City of West Recovers, the Search for Lost Pets Begins

Pedro the Chihuahua, one of West's lost pets.
facebook.com

The chaos created by the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, has left many of the town’s pets displaced and injured.

According to one Facebook post, a toy Chihuahua named Pedro escaped through a damaged, exposed area of his owner’s home after the blast. And Pedro’s story is common in West.

Texas A & M Veterinary Emergency Team is on the scene in West, checking animals for injuries before sending them to the humane society. Spokesperson Angela Clendenin says they have seen nearly 50 animals today, including one dog with a fractured leg and one with abdominal problems.

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West Plant Explosion
4:15 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Support Pours Into West, Texas

Christy Garcia waits in line to donate blood in Waco. "I cannot do much, but this I can do," says Garcia.
Mary Kang for KUT News

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant shocked the 2,800-person town of West, Texas. The impact could be felt miles to the south, in Waco.

“We heard a loud thunder – but it was clear outside so we knew it wasn’t thunder,” said Dennis Gomez, a student at Baylor University. “We felt the apartment shake. We just looked at each other and knew it wasn’t good.”

Gomez was one of the hundreds who waited in line for a few hours to donate blood at Carter BloodCare in Waco the morning after the explosion.

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West Plant Explosion
1:33 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

What it Was Like in West, Texas the Day After the Explosion

Nineteen-year old Sammy Chavez says he was just two hundred yards away from the plant when it blew.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Terrence Henry reports on the day after the explosion in the town of West, Texas.

Search and rescue efforts are still ongoing in the town of West outside of Waco. On Wednesday night, a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant rocked the small community. At least 200 were injured and twelve fatalities have been confirmed by state officials.

For the first full day after the blast, residents and first responders tried to understand what happened, while continuing search and rescue efforts. 

Thursday in West began with locals like Darryl Garrick thinking back to what had happened the night before. He lives just south of Main Street.

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West Plant Explosion
12:33 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

Austin Man Can't Believe He Experienced Boston & West Blasts

Joe Berti

Originally published on Fri April 19, 2013 7:14 pm

The KERA News story.

Joe Berti has had an unbelievable week. And one in which he’s counting his blessings that he's alive.

On Monday, Berti finished running the Boston Marathon minutes before the bombs went off. His wife, Amy, was standing near the finish line, yards from the first blast. Two days later, as he drove from Dallas to Austin, he saw – and photographed – the explosion in the Central Texas town of West.

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West Explosion
6:31 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Austin Reaches Out to West, TX: 'We're All Connected as Americans'

A donor at The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas in Austin.
Marissa Barnett, KUT News

Blood Donations for West

Central Texans have been turning out all day to donate blood to help the survivors in West.

The waiting room of Austin’s Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas is busier than usual today with people turning out to donate blood for victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, 30 miles outside of Waco.

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West Plant Explosion
5:45 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Anhydrous Ammonia, Ammonium Nitrate: West Explosion Chemicals

Explosion in West, Texas
Credit: www.businessinsider.com

Authorities have confirmed there were fatalities in the explosion at the fertilizer plant in the town of West – just north of Waco – though they have not said how many.

Today, Gov. Rick Perry has declared a disaster in the area.

As for the explosion itself, much of the focus has been on the chemicals stored at the West Fertilizer Company, where the massive explosion happened.

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Texas
3:20 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

State Investigated West Fertilizer Plant in 2006

A citizen complained to the TCEQ in 2006 of a strong ammonia smell coming from the West Fertilizer Plant.
TCEQ

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has released the records history of the West Fertilizer Co.The plant was built in 1962, before the federal government required such facilities to have federal air permit authorizations for certain chemicals. The plant did not receive the authorization until 2004.

In 2006, a citizen filed an official complaint with the TCEQ. The complaint said that an ammonia smell was "very bad last night from Fertilizer Plant,” and that the smell “lingered until after they went to bed.” The TCEQ investigated the plant and issued a violation because the plant had not gotten the required authorization.

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Texas
10:23 am
Thu April 18, 2013

West Explosion Almost Exactly 66 Years After 'Texas City Disaster'

It is estimated that as many as 600 people died in the 1947 Texas City Disaster explosion.
texascity-library.org

Click the player to hear an audio version of the Texas City Disaster story.

Emergency crews are still looking for survivors after an explosion yesterday evening in West, Texas.

The explosion happened at the West Fertilizer Plant and crews are still estimating that five to 15 people were killed and about 160 were injured. The blast leveled as many as 75 homes and businesses near the plant.

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Texas
12:16 am
Thu April 18, 2013

Powerful Explosion Rattles Small Town of West, Texas (Updated)

Public safety responders in West, Texas, following a blast Wednesday evening.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

UPDATE (12:15am): A Texas Department of Public Safety official says there were fatalities in a massive explosion in the town of West, Texas Wednesday evening. 50 to 75 homes were damaged, along with a 50-unit apartment complex, in the explosion at a fertilizer plant there.

DPS Trooper D.L. Wilson says all of the roughly 100 people injured have been removed from the scene. He could not say how many people may have died in the blast, though he did say there were fatalities.

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