Tragedy at a Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas
This would have ordinarily been much bigger news, but the explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas was overshadowed by Boston.
The fertilizer plant explosion killed at least 14 and wounded over 200, according to NBC News.
Christine Pelisek, a reporter for The Daily Beast, interviewed local residents:
Daniel McGruder was hanging out with a neighbor Wednesday night when they were shaken from their chairs by the boom. The house shook so fiercely, he says, that it knocked the television off the wall. He instinctively knew it was coming from the 50-year-old fertilizer plant and ammonia storage facility a few blocks away. He ran outside witnessing what he later described as a “giant black mushroom cloud.”
Worried for his cousin, a volunteer firefighter who also worked at the nearby nursing home, McGruder immediately got in his truck and started driving toward the site. By the time he arrived, the one-story West Rest Haven had already collapsed into rubble.
“There were people still stuck in their beds,” he says. “I saw a lot of head injuries. There was blood everywhere. Eardrums were blown out. It was like a horror movie. The elderly patients had glass on them, and they were still in their beds.”
As NBC News reports, officials are not yet sure what triggered the blast (although it's a fertilizer plant, so you can play the detective here.)
We'll have more coverage as we know more, but in the meantime, there is one silver lining to the timing of the explosion:
Many locals like McGruder, 45, are left wondering why the plant was located in such close proximity to homes, apartments, a nursing home, and at least two schools in the first place. “It was too close,” says McGruder, whose two children attend the local high school that was damaged after the blast. “Why build schools there? They knew that school shouldn’t have been there. There is so much pain in this town.”
[A local resident] says she is mostly thankful that the blast happened at 8 p.m. and not during the day when the kids were in school. “If it blew up earlier, kids would have been killed,” she says. “The kids would have been right in the middle of everything.”
Please do let us know as we learn more. This explosion may carry significant weight in future zoning laws, safety regulations, inspection rules, and insurance practices, so we'll want to pay it proper attention.