Texas Town Honors Dead From Fertilizer Plant Blast | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Texas Town Honors Dead From Fertilizer Plant Blast

West, Texas, said goodbye to 14 people, including 10 firefighters and first responders, who were killed in the April 17 explosion of a fertilizer plant that leveled part of the town.

President Obama attended a memorial service on Thursday to console the grieving families. He said the "tragedy has simply revealed who you've always been."

He told the audience of about 10,000 gathered at Baylor University's Ferrell Center in Waco that the country would help the community rebuild.

"No words adequately describe the courage that was displayed on that deadly night," Obama said. "What I can do is offer the love and support and prayers of the nation."

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, urged those watching the memorial to not "forget the courage and the resolve" of the people of West.

Gov. Rick Perry called the first responders killed in the fire and explosion "ordinary individuals blessed with extraordinary courage."

The Associated Press reports:

"A parade of fire trucks and other first responders' vehicles passed through Waco Thursday before a memorial service for first responders. ...

"Family members were escorted into the ceremony on the Baylor University campus. In front were 12 flag-draped caskets. Large photographs were placed in front of each."

About 200 people were also injured in the explosion at the West Fertilizer Co., which contained explosive ammonium nitrate. The exact cause of the fire, however, has yet to be determined.

Obama has ordered the U.S. flag at federal buildings and military facilities in Texas be flown at half-staff Thursday in memory of the victims. He had already planned to be in the state for Thursday's dedication of former President George W. Bush's presidential library at Southern Methodist University.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

'Night At The Fiestas' Spins Stories Of Faith And Family

Kirstin Valdez Quade's debut book of short fiction is inspired by her family and its long history in the "romanticized" region of northern New Mexico.
NPR

Not Just Sugary-Sweet, Hard Cider Makes A Comeback

Cider is the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage in the United States. Much of that growth is driven by big industrial producers, but smaller cider-makers are looking for a larger bite of the apple.
NPR

Nigerian President Faces Tough Reelection Campaign

Nigerians head to the polls Saturday to vote for their new president. The incumbent Goodluck Jonathan faces former military leader, Muhammadu Buhari, who says he's tough on security and corruption.
NPR

App That Aims To Make Books 'Squeaky Clean' Draws Ire From Edited Writers

Clean Reader — an app designed to find, block and replace profanity in books — has drawn considerable criticism from authors. This week, makers of the app announced they would no longer sell e-books.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.