West Explosion

West Explosion 1 Year Later
4:54 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

West Schools Still In Temporary Buildings One Year After Explosion

Construction on temporary buildings continued in late August 2013, just before school was to start.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

It has been one year since the fertilizer plant explosion that leveled several school campuses in the North Texas town of West and administrators are still recovering.    

West Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Dr. Jan Hungate said the plant explosion destroyed three campuses, so for now an entire school system is using portable buildings.

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Texas
2:36 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

What's Being Done To Prevent Another Fertilizer Plant Explosion?

Memorials near the site of the explosion in the town of West, Texas. (Terrence Henry/StateImpact Texas)

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 2:12 pm

A year ago today, a deadly blast tore through the small community of West, Texas, killing 15 people and injuring hundreds. Homes and schools were destroyed.

The explosion at the West fertilizer plant was one of the worst industrial accidents in Texas history. So what’s being done to prevent it from happening again?

From the Here & Now Contributors Network, Terrence Henry of KUT reports that the response has been a slow one.

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Around the Nation
4:25 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

A 'Roller Coaster' Year For Texas Town Rocked By Blast

Firefighters search for survivors at a West, Texas, apartment building in April 2013. The breadth of destruction in West has raised questions about what, if any, new state laws should be passed to help prevent similar accidents in the future.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 5:42 pm

When firetrucks blew through the small town of West, Texas, on the evening of April 17, 2013, sirens screaming, naturally everybody was curious. People got in their cars and went to see the fire at the West fertilizer plant. For 10 minutes, they watched from cars and backyards as the fire grew ever bigger. A few moved as close as they could because they were filming on their smartphones. At no time did it occur to anybody that they might be in danger.

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Chemical Regulations
3:22 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

One Year After West Explosion, State Still Has Dozens Of "At-Risk" Plants Operating

In August 2013, West High School was picking up and getting ready for the school year to start.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

House lawmakers charged with investigating what went wrong during the fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, Texas heard from state officials this week that 46 “at-risk” chemical facilities similar to the one in West are still operating.

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Texas Matters
2:02 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

Learning From The West Explosion: Safety And Security In Tracking Fertilizer Plants

The first week of school for fall 2013 and West, Texas, is slowly rebuilding their schools after the blast.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Texas Matters: An update on the Texas state fire marshal's online tool to locate ammonium nitrate facilities in the state like the one that exploded in the town of West. Are communities safer from this kind of a disaster? Also on this show: Texas libraries are set to lose federal funding, author Beverly Donofrio on her new memoir.

Ammonium nitrate storage in Texas after the West explosion

On April 17, the town of West, Texas, was leveled by an explosion at the local fertilizer plant.

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The Source - November 5, 2013
1:42 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

The Source: Univision Building Comes Down...Kinda | The Lessons Of West, TX

Joey Palacios/TPR

In the first segment:

Early this morning the Westside Preservation Alliance obtained an injunction against developers wanting to destroy an aging downtown TV studio.

After a city board declined to overturn a Historic and Design Review Commission decision, demolition began on the site of the former TV station, KWEX. Greystar Properties has stated their intention to build condominiums on the site. 

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Back To School
1:13 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

West ISD Faculty & Students Lean On Each Other In New School Year

Schools in West, Texas are getting ready to welcome students back.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Teachers and administrators at West ISD are nervously optimistic about this week’s start of a new school year four months after a massive fertilizer plant explosion leveled much of the town and left West ISD a hollow shell.

The new school may only be a series of portable buildings, but the faculty are proud to be back.

Dr. Jan Hungate is one of the chief administrators for West ISD and said sections of town are still unrecognizable, partially because of the blast, and partially because of new growth.

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West, Texas
12:06 pm
Tue August 27, 2013

State Agencies Provide Update On Texas Fertilizer Plant Safety

Committee hearing on the West explosion investigation at the beginning of May.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

State officials are reporting back to a group of House lawmakers about what Texas is doing to keep communities similar to West, Texas safe from another fertilizer plant explosion.

State Fire Marshal Chris Connealy said his office has been conducting fire inspections of these types of facilities:

"We’ve done 62 inspections, thus far only five have said 'no,'" he said. "We still have about 140 to 153 facilities that we will finish up in October and then we will have this map created by November."

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Government
3:01 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

West, Texas Approved For Major Disaster Relief Funding

Gov. Rick Perry at a press conference addressing the explosion in West, Texas.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

The governor’s office has announced the town of West will receive major disaster funding following an appeal of FEMA’s original decision to deny the town federal relief.

Early this summer, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced they would not be awarding the town of West major disaster relief following the massive fertilizer plant explosion that took out much of the area’s roads, schools and water system.

That original ruling has been reversed.

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West, Texas Relief
10:19 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Like Sex-Offender Registry, Dangerous Chemicals Website Would Pinpoint Plants

Committee hearing on West fertilizer investigation at the beginning of May.
Ryan Poppe TPR News

Rep. Joe Pickett, D-El Paso, who is the chairman of the House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, has asked that the State Marshall’s Office and Department of Public Safety work together to compile a website where people can identify dangerous chemical sites.

Col. Steve McCraw, who is with the Department of Public Safety, said currently there are 129 chemical plants in Texas that house dangerous chemicals, two just like the one in West.

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