West Explosion

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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