Officials Seek Answers In Aftermath Of Deadly Plant Explosion | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
Filed Under:

Officials Seek Answers In Aftermath Of Deadly Plant Explosion

Play associated audio

With the house-to-house search over and the living and dead largely accounted for, the town of West, Texas, began the transition from shock and disbelief to communal grieving.

On Friday night, mourners gathered at St. Mary Church of the Assumption to remember the dead. Many of the dead were first responders who were fighting a roaring fire for 30 minutes before the explosion, which was felt 80 miles away in Fort Worth.

Texas Sen. John Cornyn caused a stir when he suggested that there might be many more people missing than thought.

"There's still about 60 people unaccounted for," he said. "We need to make sure that everybody who can be accounted for is properly taken care of."

That had reporters scrambling for official confirmation so that local law enforcement felt compelled to clarify the senator's remarks.

"There was a list that came out that had, I think, 60 was mentioned," County Judge Scott Felton said. "But really the way that list is put together, if someone called in from Dallas and said Aunt Suzie didn't answer her phone, then we put Aunt Suzie on the list of unaccounted for."

The disaster, which destroyed a section of West, has raised questions about why the facility was not inspected more carefully. The last inspection by OSHA came all the way back in 1985. In a press conference, Gov. Rick Perry tried to address those questions.

"Obviously, I think there will be a lot of both local, state and probably federal oversight to that at this particular point in time," Perry said. "But again, when you have local zoning, when you have state requirements and then you have federal requirements, those sometime mesh; sometimes they don't."

Now that the search is over, control of the town is being turned back over to the mayor and city council, and the citizens of West will begin to trickle home to what's left.

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

WAMU 88.5

A Conversation With American Ballet Theatre's Misty Copeland (Rebroadcast)

Acclaimed ballerina Misty Copeland joined Diane to talk about her remarkable career and how she is challenging physical stereotypes that she says keep ballet stuck in the past.

NPR

Why The World Might Be Running Out Of Cocoa Farmers

West African cocoa farmers earn less than $1 a day. Those low wages could jeopardize the future of chocolate labor, as young farmers find better opportunities to earn a living, a new report warns.
NPR

#NPRreads: The 'Grexit' And Fleeing The Rwandan Genocide

Also this week, misconceptions about slavery. And, the struggle for gay Christians trying to keep the faith.
NPR

Pilot In Solar-Powered Plane Sets Aviation Record

André Borschberg, flying Solar Impulse 2, set a new record of 120 hours in the cockpit on a journey from Japan to Hawaii.

Leave a Comment

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