14 confirmed dead in West fertilizer explosion

14 confirmed dead in West fertilizer explosion

Investigators with the Texas Department of Public Safety on Friday raised their total of those confirmed dead following Wednesday's massive explosion to 14. Many of them were first responders trying to fight the fire that led to the explosion and evacuate nearby residents.

People in the small town continued mourning the friends and neighbors who were lost.

"Everybody knows everybody," West resident Brian Sykora said. "We know people who didn't make it so we are all here for each other."

By Friday more than 15 million people had watch a YouTube video of a father and daughter being caught in the blast.

The girl you hear is 12 year old Khloe Hurtt--yelling to her dad Derrick.

"We knew it was going to explode but we didn't think it was going to be that bad," Khloe said Friday.

They're both just fine.

"In my mind I thought this was death," Derrick said.

"I've been praying for all the people that died and are injured and all that," Khloe said.

One of the most tragic images from inside the damage zone was a nursing home where many were physically unable to run from danger. Lisa Middlebrook was one of them.

"I was watching TV in the dining room then I heard this big loud explosion and then the ceiling collapsed on top of me," Middlebrook said. "I was scared. I just screamed and screamed."

After being treated at local hospitals it was clear that the victims had nowhere to go since their homes had been destroyed. Now a dozen different nursing homes in central Texas are opening their doors to help.

"I'm glad somebody took me in," Middlebrook said.

Everyone else is hoping--and praying--that one day they'll be able to understand.

Investigators said they still had to visit around 25 destroyed homes as of Friday afternoon.

A volunteer firefighter named Jerry Chapman was identified as one of the first responders who was killed. He was from Abbott and he was training to be a paramedic.

Captain Kenny Harris of Dallas Fire Rescue was also killed. He lived in west and ran over to the fertilizer company to help put out the fire.

The owner of Adair Grain, which operates the fertilizer plant, issued a statement Friday apologizing for the accident. He said he'll be making employees available for interviews with investigators.

He also revealed that one of his employees died fighting the fire.


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