What is in this article?:
It has been almost eleven months since a deadly ammonium nitrate explosion and fire at a fertilizer plant changed life forever for the 2,800-plus residents of West, Texas.
Life is different
Meanwhile, amid the questions and ongoing investigation, life goes on in West, though it is a life very different than the pre-blast days.
West came into existence not long after the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad set aside a town site in 1881 while expanded tracks from Waco to Hillsboro. West was founded and quickly grew with the influx of Czech immigrants. The settlers came to purchase land and farm in the new world. They also opened businesses, sharing their European culture with surrounding communities. To this day many of the older residents of West still speak Czech to their neighbors.
With a reputation for good work ethic, the laid-back residents of this rural Texas town are often described as hard working and resilient. In spit of it, no one expected the massive tragedy that struck last spring.
Days following the deadly explosion, residents who rarely asked for help of any kind were forced to seek aid from anyone who could spare a little time or money or perhaps an ambulance or fire truck or equipment to help clean up the massive piles of debris.
Help came quickly.
State and federal officials arrived just hours after the fire started and the subsequent explosion flattened much of the community. Emergency and rescue workers from across Central Texas flocked to the scene. Residents and emergency workers evacuated schools, a nursing home and hundreds of houses across a wide area.
It wasn't long before FEMA arrived and started providing additional help, like temporary housing for those who were displaced. Medical professionals and technicians were assigned to local clinics and treatment centers and fire officials spent countless man hours attempting to control the fire, clean up the aftermath and start the process of trying to figure out what went wrong.