Advertisement

April 20, 2014

West, Texas, Devastated by Fertilizer Plant Explosion

A mammoth fertilizer plant explosion late Wednesday night leveled much of a town called West in Texas. Reports list at least five and up to 15 dead and more than 160 injured. Several blocks of the small town near Waco have been wiped off the map by a blast that registered on the Richter scale. “Homes have been destroyed. Part of that community is gone,”  said Sgt. William Patrick Swanton, a local police officer, at a press conference.

One small girl explained the catastrophe as “a rock fell on the city.” Windows were blown out in houses miles away. Patients in critical condition have been airlifted to local hospitals.

The death, injuries and physical destruction (detailed here) are heinous. Listening to the child in the video account of the initial explosion, shown above, is heartbreaking. (More on that family here.) The area has been permanently altered by unthinkable devastation.

As more details emerge, we will know more about how and why this disaster happened.

Perhaps there are lessons to be learned, safety protocols to debate.

Until then, read how Zac Crain, who grew up in West, humanized a tragedy that comes far too soon after the attack on Boston that emotionally crippled the nation.

Crain wrote the following for Frontburner, a Dallas-focused website.

The fertilizer plant was about 100 yards from my old house — which may or may not still be standing. I could see it, and smell it, every day I was there. I played basketball in the park across the railroad tracks from it. The school that was partially destroyed was my middle school. I had a fight with a kid in the apartment building that was demolished; we later became friends and he showed me his uncle’s collection of throwing stars. My great-grandmother lived out her last days in the rest home behind that apartment building. The head of emergency services, Dr. George Smith, was my doctor. My friend Mike Lednicky’s parents’ house is gone. A lot of houses are gone. The explosion was the equivalent of a 2.1 earthquake, and it spit fire.

West is in my bones, no matter what. My dad was the superintendent of schools for West ISD for a long time. (He and my mom moved to Waco a few years ago.) My grandmother helped start Westfest, and we had a booth there for a number of years, selling beer bread sandwiches. I could map the entire town from memory. So it means a lot to me, maybe more than I realized. And it means at least a little bit to you. Every single one of you stops at Czech Stop for kolaches whenever you’re going to Austin or wherever, so keep that in mind when it comes to blood donations and everything else.

I stopped in West on the way home from Austin a few weeks ago. My friend Bob wanted kolaches. The last time I was really there was in September, for my high school reunion. I took a long look around my old neighborhood, in the shadow of the fertilizer plant. I’m glad I did, because it’s mostly gone now, and whatever’s left will never be the same. Miluji tě, friends. Stay strong. Sorry this was so rambling.

The only thing wrong with this passage is the apology at the end.

Tomorrow, I, like many East Coasters, will be boarding a plane to Los Angeles for the annual RIMS Conference. This year, after beginning a week with a tragedy so, literally, close to home in Boston, I will certainly be leaving part of my heart in West as I fly that way.

Risk Management Magazine and Risk Management Monitor. Copyright 2014 Risk and Insurance Management Society, Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Senior Editor

Jared Wade is the senior editor of Risk Management magazine and the Risk Management Monitor blog.

212-655-5919

Boost: AJAX core statistics

Legal Disclaimer

You are responsible for reading, understanding and agreeing to the National Law Review's (NLR’s) and the National Law Forum LLC's  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy before using the National Law Review website. The National Law Review is a free to use, no-log in database of legal and business articles. The content and links on www.NatLawReview.com are intended for general information purposes only. Any legal analysis, legislative updates or other content and links should not be construed as legal or professional advice or a substitute for such advice. No attorney-client or confidential relationship is formed by the transmission of information between you and the National Law Review website or any of the law firms, attorneys or other professionals or organizations who include content on the National Law Review website. If you require legal or professional advice, kindly contact an attorney or other suitable professional advisor.  

Some states have laws and ethical rules regarding solicitation and advertisement practices by attorneys and/or other professionals. The National Law Review is not a law firm nor is www.NatLawReview.com  intended to be  a referral service for attorneys and/or other professionals. The NLR does not wish, nor does it intend, to solicit the business of anyone or to refer anyone to an attorney or other professional.  NLR does not answer legal questions nor will we refer you to an attorney or other professional if you request such information from us. 

Under certain state laws the following statements may be required on this website and we have included them in order to be in full compliance with these rules. The choice of a lawyer or other professional is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. Attorney Advertising Notice: Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Statement in compliance with Texas Rules of Professional Conduct. Unless otherwise noted, attorneys are not certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, nor can NLR attest to the accuracy of any notation of Legal Specialization or other Professional Credentials.

The National Law Review - National Law Forum LLC 4700 Gilbert Ave. Suite 47 #230 Western Springs, IL 60558  Telephone  (708) 357-3317 If you would ike to contact us via email please click here.