Fertilizer plant explosion levels several blocks of small Texas town

Volunteers Backfill for West Firefighters Attending Memorial

By Mark Schnyder
|  Thursday, Apr 25, 2013  |  Updated 6:44 PM CDT
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North Texas firefighters volunteered to man the fire station in West so that residents could attend the memorial service in Waco.

Mark Schnyder, NBC 5 News

North Texas firefighters volunteered to man the fire station in West so that residents could attend the memorial service in Waco.

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City Hall in the town of West was closed Thursday so that employees could attend the memorial in Waco for the victims of last week's explosion.

A block away from City Hall, at the fire station, there were no West firefighters present, but the station was far from empty.

"It's an honor to be here and to fill in when they're under such duress, taking care of their services and just kind of regrouping after the disaster," said John Rodgers, a Waxahachie Battalion Chief.

Twelve firefighters from a three-city mutual aid group consisting of Waxahachie, Red Oak and Cedar Hill are in West answering all emergency calls while West's firefighters attend Thursday's memorial and honor five of their own.

The visiting firefighters have been here for a week.

"In our down time we've been doing normal fire station duties, checking trucks, cleaning trucks, maintaining the station," said Rodgers. "We constructed a memorial. It's a firefighter's nature to stay busy."

The memorial consists of a firefighter statue donated by the Hempstead Fire Department near Houston.  There's also a display of patches and T-shirts representing all the departments that have dropped by to lend support.

"We just wanted a place where we could display those and know the fire department here in West has everyone's support," said Rodgers.

Rodgers said his 12-member team will be replaced Friday by firefighters from Flower Mound, Little Elm and Lewisville.


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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