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West Explosion Friday Update

Friday 10 p.m. update:

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama has issued an emergency declaration and pledged disaster relief aid to Texas to help in the recovery efforts following this week’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion near Waco.
 
 Obama’s order Friday night authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the town of West. Wednesday’s explosion at the West Fertilizer plant killed at least 14 people, injured more than 200 others and demolished buildings for blocks around.
 
After addressing the arrest of the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect Friday night, the president extended his sympathies to the community of West and everyone else affected by the explosion. 
 
Obama said he’s spoken with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and West’s mayor, and he pledged that the community will have the resources it needs to rebuild.

Friday 6:15 p.m. update:

WEST, Texas (AP) _ Officials offered reassurances for those concerned about the 60 or so persons listed as unaccounted for after a Central Texas fertilizer blast.
 
McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said Friday that many persons on the list are likely those who have lost their homes to the Wednesday blast at West Fertilizer. In his words, “I think we’re gonna eliminate 99 percent” of those listed as unaccounted for. He said there may be no people who are actually missing.
 
West Mayor Tommy Muska says he was living in a hotel because his home was destroyed, so he could be on the list of those still unaccounted for.

Friday 6 p.m. update:

WEST, Texas (AP) _ Texas Gov. Rick Perry says search and rescue operations have been largely completed in the small town where a fertilizer plant explosion killed 14 people and injured about 200 others.
 
Flanked by local officials, Perry told a Friday afternoon news conference that all affected buildings in West, Texas, had been cleared with possibly the exception of one burned home. 
 
Officials had said earlier that they had searched and cleared 150 buildings by Friday morning and planned to examine another 25 during the day.

Friday 3:15 p.m. update:

WEST, Texas (AP) _ Law enforcement official: 2 more bodies recovered after Texas blast, bringing death toll to 14.

Friday 2:30 p.m. update:

WEST, Texas (AP) _ Texas officials say they’re sending the remains of 12 people who were killed in a fertilizer plant explosion to the forensic lab in Dallas to be identified.
 
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes said Friday that he can’t say how many first responders died in West. But he said the 12 bodies all were found “in the area of the plant.” 
 
Wednesday’s fire and explosion at West Fertilizer Co. also injured about 200 people and destroyed 50 homes.
 
The name of one victim already has been released. Kenny Harris was a 52-year-old captain in the Dallas Fire Department who lived south of West. 
 
Dallas authorities say he was off duty at the time but responded to the fire to help.

Original story:

WEST, Texas (AP) _ A Texas law enforcement official says 12 bodies have been recovered following a massive explosion that leveled a fertilizer plant.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes said Friday that about 200 people were injured in the explosion at facility Wednesday night in the small farming community of West, about 20 miles north of Waco.

Search and rescue crews have been sifting through the still-smoldering remains for survivors. That work continues. The blast crumpled dozens of homes, an apartment building, a school and a nursing home.

Authorities say there’s no indication that the blast was anything other than an industrial accident sparked by a fire. The company has been cited for apparently minor safety and permitting violations over the past decade.

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Posted by on Apr 19 2013. Filed under Featured Stories, News.

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