On the morning after the largest fertilizer plant explosion on United States soil since 1947, the nation woke up hoping, to no avail, that the news from the previous day had been but a dream. It was not a dream – but rather a real-life nightmare affecting hundreds of physically injured victims and thousands of mourning Americans. In the midst of this tragedy, key figures in the media and political realm have responded by offering unwavering support to the people of West and the surrounding areas. As the search for survivors continues, efforts to support those recovering from injuries are on their way and even President Obama has spoken out about this event, emphasizing the national impact of one small-town USA tragedy.
President Barack Obama vocalized the support of the American people for those affected by the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas early Thursday morning. His statement served as a symbol of national unity, showing the country and international spectators that the struggle of one small town is the struggle of the entire nation as a whole. In his statement, the President gave particular thanks to the first responders on the scene of the explosion who worked tirelessly through the night to care for the wounded. President Obama closed his address by mentioning that the presidential administration is in close contact with the authorities on the ground in Texas and prepared to offer whatever means of service is needed.
From Washington D.C. to Nashville, Tennessee, support for the people of West, Texas is ever-growing. Country music icon Willie Nelson offered his support almost immediately after the news of the explosion was released. He told an interviewer that he plans to turn his upcoming Texas concert into a benefit for the victims of the fertilizer plant blast, which occurred not far from his childhood hometown.
Meanwhile, on the ground in Texas, news to families searching for missing loved ones begins to emerge – and not all of it is good news. The Texas Department of Public Safety stated that over 200 victims have been confirmed as injured by the plant explosion. As search and rescue efforts have been underway since almost immediately after the blast occurred, the mayor of West confirmed this morning that 12 bodies were recovered from the site of the fertilizer plant and that ten of those bodies belonged to first responders to the pre-explosion blaze. This confirmation brings the estimated total number of casualties to 35 in all and authorities in the area fear that number may grow as efforts to retrieve bodies continue.
Authorities claim that several firefighters who had been responding to the pre-explosion fire are still unaccounted for as news of the recovery of one surviving officer was released. The missing law enforcement officer had been among those feared dead on the site of the fertilizer plant but was found alive and is being treated at a hospital for serious injuries.
The hospitals around the area are working together to treat the hundreds of injured victims from the blast, reportedly dealing with injuries ranging from moderate to critical. Health administrators released a statement on Thursday requesting public aid in the form of blood donations for those who need infusions as a part of treatment. The blast sent millions of debris and glass particles into the air from buildings blocks away from the actual fertilizer plant. The injuries include severe loss of blood and the statement by Carter BloodCare claims that blood donations will be in high demand over the next two weeks as those injured are tended to.
Each of those victims is an individual with a unique experience of what took place the night of the explosion. One female victim told reporters that her and her son had been walking around a park in the town when the blast occurred. She claims she witnessed her young son thrown four feet in the air by the force of the explosion. According to her, the town's immediate response resembled chaos, as she witnessed people running from damaged buildings and the roof of the local school literally lifted into the air by the blast.
This week has been one filled with catastrophe, beginning in Boston, Massachusetts and making its way down to West, Texas. One Texas native witnessed both tragedies first hand as he made his way home from surviving the Boston Marathon bombing only to witness the fertilizer plant explosion just the next day. Waco resident J.B. and his wife were attending the Boston Marathon when the bombs that injured hundreds of runners and spectators were set off. He reportedly crossed the finish line of the marathon just minutes before the explosions occurred. He and his wife, who was just 10 yards from one of the bombs, left Massachusetts unscathed.
The next day he was driving in his hometown of Waco, which is just miles outside of West, Texas, when he witnessed the smoke from the pre-explosion blaze and felt the impact of the explosion just seconds later. As debris fell on top of his car, J.B. drove out of the smoke as quickly as he could and was reunited with his wife, who was obviously grateful to see him uninjured yet again. Witnessing two explosions over the course of just two days was undoubtedly overwhelming for the man but he told reporters that he is infinitely thankful, and equally baffled, at how blessed he was to survive both tragedies unhurt.
For more information on plant explosions and other industrial injuries, contact the plant explosion attorneys at Arnold & Itkin LLP today!