Fertilizer plant explosion levels several blocks of small Texas town

Photo of White Dove at Scene of Deadly Blast Inspires First Responders

Symbol of peace seen as symbol of hope for recovery

By Stefan Gorman
|  Wednesday, Apr 24, 2013  |  Updated 6:11 AM CDT
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Photo of White Dove in West Inspires First Responders

Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, Waco P.D.

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A white dove photographed at the site of the deadly West explosion is shining a light of hope in a town devastated by tragedy.

A Waco police sergeant is getting a lot of attention on social media for his inspirational picture of a white dove seen amidst the devastation at the site of the West Fertilizer Co. facility.

Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton was one of the first officers on scene last week when the fertilizer distribution facility exploded, killing at least 15 residents and leveling homes across the small Texas town, which found itself thrust into the national spotlight.

Swanton spotted the white dove Friday when he returned to West with Waco animal control officers to rehabilitate animals that were displaced when the blast destroyed dozens of homes and forced residents to flee and leave their pets behind.

More than 70 animals were rescued and taken to Texas A&M University to be checked out, cleaned up and then returned to the city of Waco shelter to be reunited with their owners or made available for new homes.

Swanton posted the picture on the Waco Police Department's Facebook page on Monday, and it was immediately shared on the Facebook pages of other first responders in Texas as a symbol of hope for the town of West.


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.

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