Fertilizer explosion UPDATE: Some residents can come home

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

Saturday April 20, 2013

WEST, Texas (AP) -- A town official says the area impacted by a fertilizer plant blast is safe and some residents will be allowed to return to their homes.

City Council member Steve Vanek says the first wave of residents will be allowed in beginning later Saturday. They will be subject to a curfew.

The West Fertilizer Co. exploded Wednesday, killing 14 people and injuring dozens of others. Swaths of the town were leveled, and dozens of homes damaged.

Earlier Saturday officials had said there were gas tanks leaking in the area of the explosion causing small fires, but they were contained.

Friday April 19, 2013

WEST, Texas (AP) -- Federal investigators and the state fire marshal's office will be moving toward an inspection of the site of Wednesday's explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant, looking for evidence that may point to a cause.

A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives says the investigation is starting at the perimeter of the explosion, and will work inward toward the destroyed fertilizer company itself.

As investigators move inward, authorities say, residents will gradually be allowed to return to their homes.

But the town of West won't easily recover. An apartment complex was badly shattered by the explosion. A school was set on fire and heavily damaged, and a nursing home was left in ruins.

Authorities confirmed today that the bodies of 12 people were recovered from the fertilizer plant and the surrounding area. The victims are believed to include a small group of first-responders who headed toward the plant to fight the fire that would apparently touch off the explosion.

(Copyright 2013, The Associated Press)

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