West, TX — The death toll from a fertilizer plant explosion in West now stands at 14. The deadly explosion happened on Wednesday evening as firefighters were battling a fire under one of the plant’s storage tanks.
Ten of those who died on Wednesday were first responders. The remaining were residents pulled from their homes and one of the plant’s employees.
Texas Public Safety Sergeant Jason Reyes announced that the bodies will be sent to the Dallas County medical examiner’s office for identification.
Now that all the bodies of those who died have been recovered, the small town of West, Texas has started the recovery process. While they wait for authorities to allow them back into what used to be their homes, residents began doing what they could to prepare.
Some called a contractor to rebuild. Many of the town’s residents felt stuck. They were unable to start recovering from the massive explosion while authorities still searched through homes and businesses for any survivors. It is unclear how long it will be before the 2,800 residents are allowed back in.
Resident Bill Killough, 76, paced the lobby of a hotel on Friday, waiting to hear news on the fertilizer plant explosion investigation. Killough’s house is just 2 1/2 blocks from where the plant was. When authorities allow him back inside his home, the former mechanic said his handyman will help him grab his guns while he focused on a list of items his wife wanted, including documents.
Federal investigators and the state fire marshal’s office began inspecting the twisted pile of debris that used to be West Fertilizer Co. on Friday, searching for a cause to the explosion. There is no word on how long their investigation will take.
Along with announcing the firm death toll for the fertilizer plant explosion, authorities also clarified an earlier statement that up to 60 people were still missing from the blast. Official stated that the list of missing people that had been provided was “confusing.” There was no clarification on whether more people were missing or not.