An American Tragedy: Helping the People of West, Texas

by April 19, 2013 04/19/13

It has been a tragic week in America, first with the bombings in Boston on Monday, April 15th and now with the massive explosion in Texas. Many fortunate people are able to carry on with life as normally as possible, but for others directly affected by these disasters our help is needed.

Earlier this week we shared information from various sources on how you can help the city of Boston and the victims of the marathon bombings. We wanted to follow up and provide information on how you can help the people of West, Texas as they try to cope and move forward after the horrific fertilizer plant explosion on Wednesday, April 17th.

As you probably already know, the small town of West, Texas has been devastated by a chemical explosion occurring after a fire at a the West Fertilizer Plant this past Wednesday evening. First responders and fire fighters were on the scene when the blast occurred that destroyed a heavily populated part of town that included a near by school, homes, an apartment complex, a nursing home and other structures. The USGS measured the blast as strong enough to be classified as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake.

Search and rescue efforts are on going as 35 -40 people are still unaccounted for. Numerous fatalities have been confirmed, including Dallas Fire-Rescue Captain Kenny Harris and several other West firefighters and first responders who were helping with efforts to contain the fire. The city of West is reported as being secure, according to Waco Police Department Sergeant William Swanton, as “plenty of law enforcement is stationed around the town” and “no fire is out of control.”

A determination has not been made yet as to what started the fire that caused the explosion, but an investigation is currently underway.

The American Red Cross arrived in West within hours of the tragedy and is helping with shelter, food, water and blood donation efforts. To help the Red Cross and other relief organizations here is what we can do to help:

  • Governor Rick Perry’s office has provided links with helpful information on where to find help locating family members or provide local donations
  • Donate Blood through Carter BloodCare. Locations can be found around the country where you can donate. If you’re in the Dallas/Fort Worth area tomorrow (Saturday, April 20th) join Lone Star Medics for their Meet and Bleed event in Mansfield for lunch at 11:00 a.m. at Texas Roadhouse Texas Roadhouse (940 N. Hwy 287,  Mansfield, TX 76063)  then blood donations from 12:30 – 2:30 p.m. at a nearby Carter BloodCare facility (920 US Hwy 287 N.  Mansfield, TX 76063). Lone Star Medics will provide a free LSM patch to anyone participating in the blood drive, as well as a 15% discount on any course that LSM offers. ITS will also be there and have some swag available to everyone as well.
  • Collect/donate items for West, Texas residents such as toiletries, diapers, baby formula, clothes, hydrogen peroxide, gauze, rubbing alcohol, dog food, cat food, air mattresses, etc. and check Fox News DFW on Facebook for up-to-date drop off locations
  • Donate money to the American Red Cross and/or Salvation Army
  • Share links and contact information for donation/collection efforts in your community

Relief efforts will be ongoing as West recovers from this massive disaster. Keep West, Texas and all those who are helping this small Texas town to cope in your thoughts and prayers.


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Lulz
Lulz

I expect that with the eventual insurance payout, the owners will likely profit from this.

According to the Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/19/texas-fertilizer-plant-explosion-government-watchdog there are numerous examples of safety violations, issues, fines negotiated to next to nothing, a casual disregard for worker and chemical safety, and a lack of oversight from underresourced regulatory agencies. This is not a hurricane, act of god, or 'tragic freak accident', this is the inevitable end result of decades of negligence, near misses, mismanagement, cost cutting, and absolute disregard for the health and safety of a town built too close to a chemical plant.

The $750000 limit on non-economic damages in lawsuits due to tort reform means that company men may be waiting a few days to travel door to door offerring a pittance in exchange for agreements not to sue--the settlement will be tiny, inadequate, and will not chop into the company, or the owners' bottom line in any meaningful way. The injured will be falling on the generosity of the public instead of extracting justice from the responsible parties. The suggestion that Federal government money is needed to close this self-inflicted wound, by a governor who floated the idea of secession, and belongs to a party that argues for defunding 'job killing environmental and safety regulations', is absolutely disgusting.

Every single person in that town bears a share of the responsibility for this, I will not be sending a cent, and will ask that my congressman do the same.

Lulz
Lulz

I expect that with the eventual insurance payout, the owners will likely profit from this. According to the Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/apr/19/texas-fertilizer-plant-explosion-government-watchdog there are numerous examples of safety violations, issues, fines negotiated to next to nothing, a casual disregard for worker and chemical safety, and a lack of oversight from underresourced regulatory agencies. This is not a hurricane, act of god, or 'tragic freak accident', this is the inevitable end result of decades of negligence, near misses, mismanagement, cost cutting, and absolute disregard for the health and safety of a town built too close to a chemical plant. The $750000 limit on non-economic damages in lawsuits due to tort reform means that company men may be waiting a few days to travel door to door offerring a pittance in exchange for agreements not to sue--the settlement will be tiny, inadequate, and will not chop into the company, or the owners' bottom line in any meaningful way. The injured will be falling on the generosity of the public instead of extracting justice from the responsible parties. The suggestion that Federal government money is needed to close this self-inflicted wound, by a governor who floated the idea of secession, and belongs to a party that argues for defunding 'job killing environmental and safety regulations', is absolutely disgusting. Every single person in that town bears a share of the responsibility for this, I will not be sending a cent, and will ask that my congressman do the same.

Cervantes
Cervantes

Houston TX talk host Michael Berry organized a drive to get donated goods to West. the drop off (still running till 9PM tonight (In Houston) is at Gallery Furniture parking lot. If your from Houston, you should recall the address..Mattress Mac has nailed that in for the past 30 years... Between Tidwell and Parker..Gallery Furniture really will SAVE YOU MONEY..and drive your donated goods to West Texas.

http://www.galleryfurniture.com/houstonhelps

Cervantes
Cervantes

Houston TX talk host Michael Berry organized a drive to get donated goods to West. the drop off (still running till 9PM tonight (In Houston) is at Gallery Furniture parking lot. If your from Houston, you should recall the address..Mattress Mac has nailed that in for the past 30 years... Between Tidwell and Parker..Gallery Furniture really will SAVE YOU MONEY..and drive your donated goods to West Texas. http://www.galleryfurniture.com/houstonhelps

Josh Tolle
Josh Tolle

We got notification today from the office building management company that they were no longer in need of material items and the best bet would be to donate money. Here is the content of that email:

"This request comes from the Mayor of West. All the goods donated are wonderful but we have received so much, it has become a problem. At this time there are no real material needs for supplies. What will make the BIGGEST affect, is donate money to the relief at Point West Bank & Trust (254) 826-5333 or State National Bank (254) 826-3741."

Just thought I'd let y'all know. Thank you for running such a awesome site. Keep up the great work!

Josh Tolle
Josh Tolle

We got notification today from the office building management company that they were no longer in need of material items and the best bet would be to donate money. Here is the content of that email: "This request comes from the Mayor of West. All the goods donated are wonderful but we have received so much, it has become a problem. At this time there are no real material needs for supplies. What will make the BIGGEST affect, is donate money to the relief at Point West Bank & Trust (254) 826-5333 or State National Bank (254) 826-3741." Just thought I'd let y'all know. Thank you for running such a awesome site. Keep up the great work!

Kelly Black
Kelly Black

Lulz, while I appreciate you taking the time to read the post and provide your feedback, I couldn't disagree with you more. Perhaps if you made such a bold statement using your real name, it would carry more weight.

But, on to my real point, never will I feel that an entire small Texas town is to blame for a massive and devastating accident, nor will I attempt to neglect or punish the innocent in this matter. The outcome of the investigation will determine the cause of the fire that led to the explosion and I will continue to support the rebuilding of this historic town and will do what I can to help.

Kelly Black
Kelly Black

Lulz, while I appreciate you taking the time to read the post and provide your feedback, I couldn't disagree with you more. Perhaps if you made such a bold statement using your real name, it would carry more weight. But, on to my real point, never will I feel that an entire small Texas town is to blame for a massive and devastating accident, nor will I attempt to neglect or punish the innocent in this matter. The outcome of the investigation will determine the cause of the fire that led to the explosion and I will continue to support the rebuilding of this historic town and will do what I can to help.

Kelly Black
Kelly Black

Josh, thanks so much for sharing the update. And, we appreciate your feedback and support!

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