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Published On: Sat, Apr 20th, 2013

Texas residents allowed to return home after fertilizer blast, killing 14 and injuring scores

The little town of West, not far from Waco, Texas, remains a scene of destruction, three days after an enormous explosion at a fertilizer plant. Officials now number the dead from a Central Texas fertilizer plant explosion at 14.

Residents are now permitted to return “home” which is a scene of chaos amongst the rubble.

Plant_Explosion_Texas.JPEG-092b3“I want to dispel any rumors of any health or safety hazards or threats at this time in the city of West,” Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek told reporters without specifying what those rumors may have been. “It is safe, it is safe, it is safe for our citizens.”

Arrangements were being made for insurance adjusters to gain access to the stricken areas, he said.

CNN sent out the initial report “Some 35 people — including 10 first responders — died in a massive explosion Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Mayor Tommy Muska said, according to USA Today” but the numbers were erroneously exaggerated.

Senator John Cornyn of Texas said that 60 people remained unaccounted for, an estimate that included many people who had been reported missing by relatives unable to locate them immediately after the blast. But the McLennan County judge, Scott Felton, who joined Gov. Rick Perry at an Friday afternoon news conference, said that he would be “surprised if it’s more than a few.”

Vanek warned that their access to water, electricity and natural gas will be limited and that they will be subject to a curfew from sunset until 7 a.m. He urged residents to avoid the glass, debris and nails that litter much of the area.

The explosion on Wednesday night tore through the roof of West Fertilizer Co., charring much of the structure and sending massive flames into the air.

The dead included the secretary, who was also a member of the volunteer fire department, said Mayor Tommy Muska.

In total, five West firefighters died battling the blaze, along with one Dallas firefighter and four emergency responders, the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas said Thursday.

“It’s going to be a long recovery for this community,” Gov. Rick Perry said Friday.

Local authorities were working with federal officials to determine the cause of the explosion, Perry said.

Photo” screenshot video coverage http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/crews-seek-survivors-bodies-after-texas-fertilizer-plant-explosion-death-toll-is-unclear/2013/04/18/48a0d26c-a891-11e2-9e1c-bb0fb0c2edd9_story.html

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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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