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Author Topic: West Fertilizer Co., West, TX Explosion-15 Dead, Over 200 Wounded  (Read 78473 times)
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« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2013, 05:20:42 PM »

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/official-12-confirmed-dead-200-injured-in-west/nXQ9J/
Officials: 12 confirmed dead, 60 remain unaccounted for
April 19, 2013

Update 12:35 p.m.: U.S. Sen. John Cornyn on Friday said 60 people remain unaccounted for in a blast in West that killed at least 12 people and injured more than 160.
Cornyn said he was provided that number by the state deputy fire marshal and Texas Task Force members who are helping with search-and-rescue missions.
However, he said, “I would take (that number) with a grain of caution.”
Authorities said that families and neighborhoods were dispersed immediately after the explosion and that some of the missing likely have not been in touch with family or friends.
They might also be at area hospitals, Cornyn said.

“We need to find out that they are safe and still alive,” Cornyn said.
Meanwhile, crews continue to search the town for casualties.
In a press conference with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Roger Williams, R-Austin, Cornyn said he did not have any additional details about the number of people killed or wounded.
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2013, 07:32:54 PM »

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/crime-law/official-12-confirmed-dead-200-injured-in-west/nXQ9J/
West death toll at 14, including 9 first-responders
April 19, 2013

Update 6 p.m.: Authorities confirmed Friday evening that 14 people, including nine medics and volunteer firefighters, died in a fertilizer plant explosion and said that they are not expecting to find more survivors in a debris field of shattered homes and other buildings.
Two brothers, both veteran volunteer firefighters and the city secretary were among the dead, according to town leaders.
Officials, including U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that as many 60 people remained unaccounted for, but the town’s mayor and a top county official said in a Friday evening news conference that authorities are expected to locate most of those victims in coming days at hospitals, motels and at the homes of family and friends.
The number of missing “is a little deceiving,” Mayor Tommy Muska said. “We have a lot of displaced people.”
Federal, state and local authorities continued an investigation into what led to the explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. late Wednesday. Also Friday, the owner of the company, Donald Adair, released a statement expressing sympathy to those who died and lost their homes and other property in the blast.
“This tragedy will continue to hurt deeply for generations to come,” the statement said.
Officials have said that on Wednesday, three to five volunteer firefighters responded to a blaze at the West Fertilizer Co. plant at 7:29 p.m. and immediately began evacuating the area. About 20 minutes later, an explosion sent flames and a huge mushroom cloud into the air.
Officials have said that the explosion destroyed 50 homes, a middle school, an apartment building and a nursing home had varying degrees of damage.
More...
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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2013, 09:46:33 PM »

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=177894989
Texas Town Grieves For Dead First-Responders
April 19, 2013

WEST, Texas (AP) — Buck Uptmor didn't have to go to West Fertilizer Co. when the fire started. He wasn't a firefighter like his brother and cousin, who raced toward the plant. But a ranch of horses next to the flames needed to be moved to safety.

"He went to help a friend," said Joyce Marek, Uptmor's aunt. "And then it blew."

Two days after the fertilizer facility exploded in a blinding fireball, authorities announced Friday that they had recovered 14 bodies, confirming for the first time an exact number of people killed. Grieving relatives filed into a church offering comfort for families, as volunteers nearby handed out food to those still unable to return to homes damaged by the massive blast.

Ten of the dead were first-responders — including five from the West Volunteer Fire Department and four emergency medics, West Mayor Tommy Muska said.

The dead included Uptmor and Joey Pustejovsky, the city secretary who doubled as a member of the West Volunteer Fire Department. A captain of the Dallas Fire Department who was off-duty at the time but responded to the fire to help also died.

The explosion was strong enough to register as a small earthquake and could be heard for many miles across the Texas prairie. It demolished nearly everything for several blocks around the plant. More than 200 people were hurt, and Muska said five first-responders were among those who remained hospitalized Friday.
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« Reply #23 on: April 20, 2013, 09:05:10 AM »

http://www.wfaa.com/news/investigates/Expert-says-ammonium-nitrate-dangers-should-have-been-told-203851681.html
Expert: Ammonium nitrate dangers in West should have been told
April 20, 2013

WEST, Texas -- Explosion investigators spent their first full day Friday exploring the scene and searching for clues as to what triggered the devastating blast Wednesday night in West, Texas.

The suspected culprit at this early stage is a highly-explosive fertilizer, ammonium nitrate, which was being stored in large quantities on site.

State and federal investigators Friday could be seen combing through the debris at ground zero. They inspected a huge crater - several feet deep - where a large building once stood, containing an assortment of fertilizers.

Of greatest concern was up to 270 tons of ammonium nitrate, which the owner had properly reported to state authorities. Reporting the existence of ammonium nitrate is important because of the chemical's well-known potential to explode.

It was the main ingredient used to bomb the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. Since then, new federal laws make it difficult to find out where ammonium nitrate is even sold.

Since Thursday, News 8 has identified a half-dozen similar fertilizer storage facilities in North Texas that stock ammonium nitrate, like one we found in Itasca, Texas, 20 miles north of the explosion in West.

By itself, when properly ventilated, the chemical is considered safe. So what caused the chemical to explode in West?

Explosion and pipeline safety expert Don Deaver said the likely trigger is the fire that raged just feet away from the storage building on Wednesday night.

"And if you have ammonium nitrate inside of a building that comes into contact with this type of heat, you are going to have an explosion,” Deaver said. “I mean, it’s the perfect storm for an explosion. You've got the ignition source, you've got the heat, and the hotter it is the more explosive it is."

State chemical storage reports on file with the Texas Department of State Health Services indicate that the explosive chemical was on site and had been for the past year. Deaver said the key question now is why wasn't more done to prevent a massive explosion.

"What was done to keep it keep it from happening?” Deaver asked. “What safety precautions were in place? What type of interactions and communications were there with the fire fighters?"
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« Reply #24 on: April 20, 2013, 09:29:16 AM »

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/local/trade-association-sought-to-exclude-fertilizer-ble/nXRhZ/
Trade association sought to exclude fertilizer blenders from reporting requirements
April 19, 2013

A national trade group that represents fertilizer suppliers recently sought to convince federal lawmakers that retailers that blend fertilizer — such as West Fertilizer Co. — should be excluded from rules requiring them to cooperate in the development of emergency plans and to publicly reveal their chemical inventories.
The Agricultural Retailers Association said in its 2012 congressional lobbying report that it seeks to “work with the EPA to clarify their new Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act interpretation of fertilizer retailer to exclude facilities that blend fertilizer.”
According to association representatives, the blending of dry fertilizer, such as ammonium nitrate, is extremely safe and lumping blenders in with manufacturers represents a regulatory burden for small businesses. It’s not clear what caused Wednesday’s explosion at the West plant, which occurred after business hours.
During a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meeting last year, Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., declared that “if EPA continues down this road they will be imposing additional costs on hundreds of small businesses and farmers in rural America.”
 ::snipping2::
According to the Sunlight Foundation, which first reported the lobbying effort, the Agricultural Retailers Association has spent $2.9 million since 1998 to lobby Congress on issues affecting its members. An EPA spokesperson told the Statesman on Friday that the agency has not amended its rules and continues to require enhanced reporting from fertilizer blenders.
West Fertilizer, which the association says is not a member of the group, has been fined for lax compliance with similar planning requirements.
The EPA fined the plant $2,300 in 2006 after inspectors found that the company had failed to update its risk management plan in a timely manner.
And the company’s most recent risk management plan, filed in 2011, drastically underestimated a “worst case” incident at the plant, stating that it would be a 10-minute leak of anhydrous ammonia, not the catastrophic explosion that occurred Wednesday night, for which the death toll — reported to be at least 14 as of Friday evening — is still not finalized.
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« Reply #25 on: April 20, 2013, 09:35:57 AM »

http://www.kvue.com/news/203534951.html
How you can help West
Posted April 18, 2013, Updated April 19, 2013


Credit: Taken by a Volunteer Firefighter
Firefighters inspect an apartment complex destroyed by an explosion at the West Chemical and Fertilizer Company on April 17, 2013. (Taken by a Volunteer Firefighter)

A deadly fertilizer plant explosion rocked West, Texas, a small community north of Waco on Wednesday evening. Below, you will find information you need to know, including organizations accepting donations as this story continues to develop.
(see lists at article link)
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« Reply #26 on: April 20, 2013, 09:43:07 AM »

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Volunteer-fire-departments-bear-the-brunt-4448047.php
Volunteer fire departments bear the brunt
April 20, 2013



Members of West Volunteer Fire Department attend a service at St. Mary's Catholic Church of the Assumption that honored the department's fallen firefighters in West, Texas on Friday, Apr. 19, 2013. Five of the department's firefighters lost their lives in the West Fertilizer explosion on Wednesday. Photo: Kin Man Hui, San Antonio Express-News

WEST — The volunteers who staff the West and Abbott fire departments are like family, called out from their stations just 11 minutes apart to work in unison as they put out fires and rescue car-crash victims.

This week, eight of those men died together in the massive fertilizer plant explosion in West on Wednesday night, a heavy toll on both of the small rural departments in McLennan County.

The Abbott Volunteer Fire Department, which has 15 active volunteers, lost three people. Five of 33 members of West's volunteer department were killed and another 11 hospitalized.


Doreen Strickland, president of the Abbott department, said its annual fundraiser, a chicken-and-sausage dinner that raises 25 percent of the budget, was scheduled for Sunday.

“We'll reschedule later,” she said Friday. “Right now, putting our guys to rest is what counts.”
 ::snipping2::
Across Texas, 80 percent of the firefighting contingency is made up of volunteers. State funding for the departments was slashed in 2011 from $30 million a year to $13.5 million.

State Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, is pushing to get the full $30 million allocated annually.

“The tragedy at West has focused the governor and legislators' attention” on firefighters, he said.

Musician Willie Nelson, a native of Abbott who provided the money to build the fire station there more than a decade ago, said he'll donate the proceeds from his annual Birthday Bash concert on April 28 to West's volunteers.

On Friday night, the West department's Fire Engine 1 was parked in front of the church, a bright-red reminder of the tragedy that shook the community.

At a prayer vigil inside, volunteer firefighters, all wearing red West VFD shirts, sat solemnly in the front pew — one on crutches, another in a wheelchair, and a third with his arm in a sling.

Mayor pro tem Steve Vanek, also a volunteer firefighter, said the department is reeling.

“It's devastating,” he said. “We're just talking and hugging each other — that's all we can do.”

He was en route to the plant when it exploded.

“I was a quarter-mile away, or I'd be dead too,” Vanek said.
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« Reply #27 on: April 20, 2013, 12:13:20 PM »

http://www.cbsnews.com/2300-201_162-10016515.html
Texas fertilizer plant explosion

54 images

« Last Edit: April 20, 2013, 12:15:59 PM by MuffyBee » Logged

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« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2013, 12:23:56 PM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/texas/obama-declares-emergency-after-texas-plant-blast
Obama declares emergency after Texas plant blast
Order authorizes FEMA to coordinate relief efforts

Published April 19, 2013, Updated April 20, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has issued an emergency declaration and pledged disaster relief aid to Texas to help in the recovery efforts following this week's deadly fertilizer plant explosion near Waco.

Obama's order Friday night authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the town of West. Wednesday's explosion at the West Fertilizer plant killed at least 14 people, injured more than 200 others and demolished buildings for blocks around.
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2013, 01:30:55 PM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/texas/emphasis-shifts-to-recovery-in-west
Emphasis shifts to recovery in West
People now face task of rebuilding lives, the town

April 20, 2013

 ::snipping2::
Federal investigators and the state fire marshal's office began inspecting the blast site Friday to collect evidence that may point to a cause. Franceska Perot, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said investigators still were combing through debris and would continue Saturday.

Meanwhile, Texas Task Force 1 began pulling its heavy equipment and members out of West on Saturday after finishing a search and rescue of a swath of the town decimated by the Wednesday night explosion.

Operations Chief Jeff Saunders says the group is more accustomed to dealing with the aftermath of tornadoes and hurricanes, not industrial explosions. He says they are preparing equipment to return to College Station.

Saunders says the team completed Friday a search of the plant site and a final sweep of a devastated nearby apartment complex. He declined to say what they saw, citing an ongoing investigation.

Texas Task Force 2 left Friday evening.

Residents cannot return to their homes until investigators are finished, Perot said. She did not have a timetable on when that might be.

Perry said the "search and rescue phase is now complete" and the "recovery side" had begun.

Asked if additional oversight was needed for fertilizer plants, Perry said "those are legitimate, appropriate questions for us to be asking."

"If there's a better way to do this, we want to know about it," he said.

There is only one funeral home in West and like much of the town Aderhold Funeral Home hasn't been operating under full power since Wednesday.

Even fully staffed, 14 funerals would overwhelm the staff, but on top of that it's down a funeral director.

Brothers Robert and Larry Payne share that responsibility. But Robert Payne, who as a volunteer firefighter was on the scene when the explosion occurred, remains in intensive care.

The state and national associations are organizing other funeral homes that have offered to supply staff and vehicles once services are arranged for the dead.

That hadn't started yet though. Robbie Bates, president elect of the National Funeral Directors Association, said that the medical examiner's office had not yet released the bodies to the families.

Bates said Aderhold was doing all it could to assist families in the midst of dealing with its own travails.

"They don't intend to charge the families," Bates said.
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« Reply #30 on: April 20, 2013, 02:36:39 PM »

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/official-small-fires-erupting-texas-blast-site-19007308
Official: Small Fires Erupting at Texas Blast Site
April 20, 2013

Officials are telling residents displaced by the massive fertilizer plant explosion in Texas that tanks on site are leaking gas and causing small fires.

They say the fires are contained, but they are preventing those who live nearby from returning to their homes in the town of West.
 ::snipping2::
Reed, who is also a spokesman for West, said there may be reports of "another explosion in West," but warned that those are exaggerated.

He said the leaks were caused by tanks damaged by heat and had triggered small fires. He said no further evacuations were necessary.
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« Reply #31 on: April 20, 2013, 05:12:32 PM »

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/residents-returning-to-homes-in-blast-zone/nXR3L/
Residents returning to homes in blast zone
April 20, 2013

Some residents were preparing to return to their homes Saturday afternoon for the first time since an explosion at a fertilizer plant devastated several blocks of the small farming town on Wednesday night.
A portion of the five-block blast zone was set to reopen at 3 p.m., the first of several stages of re-entry for residents who have waited for three tense and grief-stricken days to return to their property.
Fourteen people died in the explosion, including nine medics and volunteer firefighter
 ::snipping2::
Evacuated residents have waited anxiously to return and assess what remains of roughly 80 damaged homes after the blast Wednesday night at West Fertilizer Co.
Many are hoping to find key documents such as insurance papers and family records to help with recovery. Others simply hope to reclaim any belongings that might be buried under splintered homes.
Throughout West on Saturday morning, insurance adjusters had set up shop on various street corners and remediation crews prepared to enter the blast zone.
As they announced the first re-entry into the blast zone, authorities enacted a 7 p.m. curfew and promised that law enforcement will be patrolling the area.
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek said that allowing the residents to access homes between Walnut and Oak streets is the first of several stages of re-entry.
Vanek also emphasized that he wanted to dispel rumors of any lingering health or safety hazards in the blast area.
“It is safe, it is safe, it is safe for our citizens,” he said.
 ::snipping2::
Brian Vrba, 39, said he is eager to return to his house, which he said is a couple blocks from the fertilizer plant. He said he has been told that when officials let residents in, he will be accompanied by an escort to retrieve belongings, but won’t be able to stay. “We’re just going minute to minute,” said Vrba, who is living with his family, including two daughters, age 5 and 7, at his parents’ house outside of town.
He said he was picking his daughters up from church at the time of the blast and was able to return home briefly. He said windows and doors were blown out and glass littered the hallways. “It’s not livable,” he said.
Also Saturday, officials announced that investigations by the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are complete, but gave no further details.
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #32 on: April 20, 2013, 05:17:05 PM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/texas/emphasis-shifts-to-recovery-in-west
Stage 1 of re-entry begins near blast zone
People now face task of rebuilding lives, the town

April 20, 2013

(2 pgs)
WEST, Texas (AP/KXAN) — Stage One of what will be a series of re-entry efforts began Saturday afternoon for residents in and around the blast zone in West.
 ::snipping2::
West Mayor Pro Tem Steve Venek said re-entry will begin at 3 p.m. for one area about a mile from the plant and be restricted to residents and representatives of insurance companies. He warned residents that they could expect to see a lot of debris, including broken glass, nails and more.

The area for State One re-entry is between Walnut Street on the north and Oak Street on the south .
 ::snipping2::
Residents who live in the area that will be open first were instructed to line up in their vehicles on the fringe of the neighborhood. Texas Department of Public Safety troopers will be checking identification of people to make sure only those who live their are allowed in

Because of the heavy damage, their area will only be open from 7a.m. until 7 p.m., Venek said.
 ::snipping2::


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« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2013, 10:49:10 PM »

http://www.kvue.com/video/featured-videos/203941511.html
All missing in West disaster now accounted for
April 20, 2013

WEST, Texas — Some residents of West, Texas were allowed to return to their homes starting at 3 p.m. Saturday after delays caused by concerns that chemicals at the West Fertilizer plant might still pose a threat.
"Everything is safe, safe and safe," Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek said at a mid-afternoon news conference.
Vanek said Saturday night that search and rescue teams did not find  any additional victims in the ruins of Wednesday's massive explosion that killed 14 people and left more than 200 others injured.
But West residents whose homes are closest to the site of Wednesday's powerful blast are not yet cleared to go in.
Officials did not address reasons for multiple delays on Saturday, nor did they discuss concerns about any lingering hazards at the blast site.
Law enforcement issued a warning earlier Saturday after tanks began leaking gas, causing small fires.
The fires were being contained, but a source said federal authorities want to make certain there is no chance for another explosion.
"The site is safe," said Assistant State Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner at a Saturday evening news briefing. "There are no safety concerns out on the site."
He said, however, that officials would begin removing some chemical storage tanks from the fertilizer plant property on Saturday night so the investigation into the cause can continue.
"We have to figure out where the fire started, what caused the fire," Kistner said, adding there is no indication yet of any criminal activity.
Kistner also said Union Pacific would begin repairs on the damaged rail line adjacent to the plant on Sunday morning.
A town hall meeting for residents on Saturday afternoon started with a prayer for the city and those who were killed and injured in Wednesday's blast.
Officials at the meeting conceded they had failed to communicate clearly with citizens of the town of 2,800.
 ::snipping2::
Vanek said residents who live between Oak Street and Walnut Street would be permitted to return in what he called Stage 1 of the reentry process.
Vanek said there are a number of stipulations:
a 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. curfew will be enforced
residents can remain in their homes at their own risk between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., but will not be permitted to go outside during those hours
no vehicle larger than a pickup truck will be allowed in the impacted area
no more than two vehicles are permitted per residential address
the Texas Department of Public Safety will assign a reentry number to each vehicle
only residents 18 years or older are permitted to enter the blast zone
Vanek  said the access point for residents would be at the corner of Reagan Street and Tokio Street faicng south starting at 3 p.m. Saturday.
The mayor pro tem said there would be a town meeting at the Knights of Columbus Hall in West at 4 p.m. Saturday.
Earlier on Saturday, city officials close to the blast site were told to move away from the area.
Paramedic Bryce Reed said the leaks on Saturday were caused by tanks damaged by heat and had triggered small fires. He said no further evacuations were necessary.
Workers were placing heavy concrete barriers across streets leading into damaged neighborhoods in West on Saturday.
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« Reply #34 on: April 21, 2013, 01:58:42 PM »

http://www.kvue.com/news/203935541.html
First responders paid a heavy toll in West disaster
April 20, 2013

WEST, Texas — Jerry Chapman and Cyrus Reed were volunteers at the Abbott Fire Company. Both worked there for nearly four years.
And firefighter Perry Calvin often assisted the town of Abbott.
All three were in West when the fire at the fertilizer plant broke out on Wednesday evening. They were taking EMT classes, and were one week from graduating.
They all responded immediately.
They all died.
 ::snipping2::
On Saturday, proceeds from meals purchased at the Black Eyed Pea in Hillsboro — a place where Jerry Chapman worked — were earmarked to help the Chapman family.

Video at Link
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« Reply #35 on: April 21, 2013, 02:01:56 PM »

http://www.wfaa.com/news/texas-news/font-color000000VIDEOfont-Suspect-speeds-by-in-pickup-truck-203991631.html
Residents of West reflect at outdoor church service
April 21, 2013

WEST, Texas — First Baptist Church of West conducted open-air services on Sunday morning.
The congregation's church building is inside the blast zone left by Wednesday's devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant that killed 14 people. The roof of the church was damaged.
Chairs were set up in a field for the worship service on Saturday. Early Sunday, Associate Pastor Phil Immicke was seen draping fabric over a wooden cross on a temporary platform.
The church welcomed those dressed casually who were unable to access their "Sunday clothes" due to the disaster in their town.
"We are family," Senior Pastor John Crowder told the large crowd during the 10 a.m. service, adding that family members need to be together now more than ever.
 ::snipping2::

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« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2013, 02:06:53 PM »

http://www.myfoxdfw.com/story/22034322/cash-blood-donations-needed-most-in-west
Cash, blood donations needed most in West
April 21, 2013

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« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2013, 09:01:36 PM »

http://www.statesman.com/news/news/12-of-14-confirmed-dead-were-first-responders/nXSLq/
12 of 14 confirmed dead were first-responders
April 21, 2013

WEST — Twelve of the 14 confirmed dead in Wednesday’s fertilizer plant explosion were firefighters and medics who had rushed to the plant when a fire there was first reported, authorities said on Sunday.
The other two confirmed deaths were civilians who authorities believe were at an apartment complex near the fertilizer plant.
Today, the State Fire Marshal’s Office announced its priority is to continue an investigation into the line of duty deaths of the firefighters and medics. Investigators are still piecing together a timeline of when the fire started, when the explosion happened, and what caused it.
 ::snipping2::
Also Sunday, authorities planned to open up the blast zone to a limited pool of journalists, giving the public its first ground-level glimpse at the 5-block section of the city that took the brunt of the explosion. Fifty homes, the 22-unit apartment complex and two schools were damaged or destroyed, officials have said.
Authorities on Sunday said investigators have spotted the “seat” of the explosion, which created a crater in the ground and registered as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake, according to the US Geological Survey.
 ::snipping2::
The city’s public works director is working with state officials to determine the damage to the city’s water system and restore service to the affected neighborhoods.
A memorial service has been scheduled for Thursday at Baylor University for the first responders who perished in the blast, coordinated by the Texas Line of Duty Death Task Force.
The service will be held at 2 p.m. at the Ferrell Center at Baylor University, 1900 S. University Park in Waco. Organizers, who were in West on Sunday, expect a strong showing from firefighters across the state.
 ::snipping2::
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« Reply #38 on: April 22, 2013, 09:27:12 AM »

http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/texas/4-more-1st-responders-identified-in-west
4 more 1st responders identified in West
One school obliterated, another may be razed

April 22, 2013

WEST, Texas (AP) — Officials and family members have identified four more first responders who died in last week's deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion.

At least 14 people died in Wednesday's explosion at the plant in the Texas town of West. West Mayor Tommy Muska has said that 10 of the 14 who died were first responders.

On Sunday, professional organizations and family and friends identified four more of the first responders who died: brothers Doug and Robert Snokhous, who were both firefighters with the West Volunteer Fire Department; Jerry Chapman, a firefighter with the Abbott Volunteer Fire Department; and Kevin Sanders, who worked with West EMS and another area volunteer fire department.

One school campus was obliterated, and on the eve of 1,500 students returning to class for the first time since Wednesday's blast, Superintendent Marty Crawford said the high school and middle school could also be razed.

Nearly 70 federal and state investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire that set off the explosion, Kirstner said. Authorities say there are no signs of criminal intent.
 ::snipping2::

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« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2013, 09:31:07 AM »

http://www.kvue.com/news/state/Students-return-to-class-in-West-days-after-deadly-explosion-204067211.html
West students return to class days after deadly explosion
April 22, 2013

WEST, Texas -- West ISD students returned back to class Monday for the first time since a deadly fertilizer plant explosion.
According to the district's website, Pre-K through 6th grade headed back to West Elementary School.  For middle and high schoolers, class will resume at a vacant school in Connally ISD just outside Waco.
 ::snipping2::
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  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
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