Fertilizer plant explosion levels several blocks of small Texas town

Texas Senators Visit West

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBC 5
    U.S. Senator John Cornyn, center, and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, right, visited West on Friday.

    Three members of the Texas congressional delegation got a firsthand view of the aftermath of this week's massive fertilizer plant explosion.

    Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Roger Williams all offered prayers for West during Friday's news conference to discuss their tour of the town after the fatal blast that killed at least 14 people and injured more than 200 others.

    "Your heart weeps for their suffering," Cruz said.

    Cornyn said that about 60 people remain unaccounted for, but McLennan County Judge Scott Felton said many people on the list probably lost their homes and have simply been difficult to locate since the Wednesday evening accident.

    "The way that list was put together, if someone called in -- let's say from Dallas -- and said, 'Aunt Susie didn't answer her phone,' we put Aunt Susie down on the list of possible missing people when, really, Aunt Susie doesn't answer her phone most of the time, anyway," Felton said.

    Felton said he anticipated that a high percentage of the names, perhaps even nearly all of them, would be eliminated from the list.

    Cornyn and Cruz said they would wait for more information about the explosion before delving into whether there should be more regulation of anhydrous ammonia, a fertilizer that can be directly injected into soil.

    West Fertilizer Co. stored and distributed the chemical.

    Meanwhile, Williams said he expects the small farming community north of Waco to rebuild.

    On Thursday, Gov. Rick Perry declared McLennan County a disaster area and outlined the state's involvement in the town's recovery. He was joined by Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and other state officals. Attorney General Greg Abbott also spoke Thursday.


    West Fertilizer Plant Explosion
    Complete coverage of a massive fertilizer plant explosion that leveled blocks of the small Texas town of West, TX. Click here for more.