Mayor of West: "We're Gonna Rebuild"
Ben Russell, NBC 5 News
West Mayor Tommy Muska is continuously working to rebuild the town that was rocked by a fertilizer plant explosion on April 17.
West Mayor Tommy Muska is continously working to rebuild his town.
These days Muska spends his time attending funerals for friends, attending daily city council briefings, speaking time with any one of the dozens of residents whose homes were destroyed in the fertilizer plant explosion that rocked his town two weeks ago.
Muska is applying for emergency aid from both the state and federal level.
Muska sat down with NBC 5 Wednesday night to discuss his town's recovery.
"They didn't teach this in mayor's school," Muska said about handling a crisis the magnitude of which his town is going through." It's a learning process."
The April 17 explosion killed 15 people, injured approximately 200 more and destroyed many of the homes in a five-block area surrounding the West Fertilizer plant.
As a volunteer firefighter in West, Muska was on his way to the plant to help put out the fire that preceded the explosion. The force from the explosion knocked his hat off of his head, Muska said.
Muska said there's too much work to be done to reflect.
But early Wednesday he did just that, and posted his thoughts on the city's website for all to see.
This is an excerpt from his letter:
I know you have heard me say over and over that it will be ok…I say that with all my heart and soul…knowing full well the great citizen of West have the resilience, dedication, love for each other and faith in the almighty God that makes us so unique and special. We will be ok… we will rebuild this town… we will be better and stronger because of it.
"It comes from the heart," Muska said about what he wrote. "And I know these people and they know me and we're gonna get through it. We're gonna get through it together."
Muska said the next achievable hurdle his town needs to clear is the process of tearing down the damaged buildings and starting over.
"This town is not gonna die on my watch," Muska said. "We're gonna rebuild."