by Jim Adler
Just two days after the tragic Boston Marathon explosion killed three persons, the West Fertilizer Co. plant explosion in the small town of West, Texas proved even more devastating, killing up to 15 persons, including firefighters who haven’t yet been found.
The cause of the massive blast Wednesday night, April 17 isn’t yet known, but it is known that a fire occurred at the facility earlier in the evening, bringing firefighters and other emergency responders to the industrial site. Then a massive explosion erupted at the fertilizer plant around 7:50 p.m., with secondary explosions occurring about 10 p.m.
The fertilizer blast devastated the town of West, damaging if not flattening homes and other buildings within a radius of several blocks of West Fertilizer Co. at 1471 Jerry Mashek Drive in West. The nearby West Rest Haven Nursing Home, 300 Haven St., was heavily damaged, and its 133 residents had to be evacuated.
Indeed, half of the town of West had to be evacuated after the fertilizer blast damaged up to 75 homes and left an apartment complex with 50 units in skeletal form.
At least 180 persons in West were injured, with most taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco and others to Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, Temple’s Scott & White Memorial and Waco’s Providence Hospital.
Two children who were injured in the blast were taken to McLane Children’s Hospital in Temple.
Most injuries were said to be due to the explosion itself, with victims suffering lacerations and puncture wounds. Others were burned by the fire of the explosion itself or by exposure to the toxic anhydrous ammonia gas that’s employed to make fertilizer. It can cause severe burns if combined with water in the body.
Jim S. Adler & Associates expresses its sincere condolences to the victims and the families of those who were killed or injured in the West Fertilizer Co. blast.