Fertilizer plant explosion levels several blocks of small Texas town

West Recovery Continues As Residents Pause For Prayer

Sunday morning in West meant recovery efforts were continuing---as well as Sunday worship services

By Keaton Fox
|  Monday, Apr 22, 2013  |  Updated 9:57 AM CDT
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Some of the faithful who couldn't attend services in their church homes were welcomed by other churches in West on Sunday.

Keaton Fox, NBC 5 News

Some of the faithful who couldn't attend services in their church homes were welcomed by other churches in West on Sunday.

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Families and firefighters in tiny West packed church services on the first Sunday since the West Fertilizer Co. exploded in a giant fireball this week.

First Baptist Church remains in a barricaded area where the damage and rubble are most pronounced. So Pastor John Crowder set up folding chairs in a hay field and delivered his sermon from the flatbed of an 18-wheeler.

The First United Church has shattered glass, and even parts of the walls knocked out from the blast. It will welcomed congregations of other denominations Sunday morning.

Geoff Davidson was asked a few months ago to speak on this particular Sunday. He knows the weight of the two congregations will be on him---as they look for answers and guidance.

He says the biggest question is why.

"Christ is absent in tragedy inasmuch as the body of Christ is absent during tragedy," said Davidson. "We want to sit there and ask where is God during these things? We can be the feet of that. We can be the difference. We can be what Christ wants to do."

And Davidson says those acts are clear at the outpouring of support into this small community.

Carol Waddell says her faith is what's keeping her going---when she thinks of the emptiness left behind.

"The people that died, I knew all of them," Waddell said. "I just, can't wrap my brain around the people we've lost. Their bravery is just phenomenal. They're all heroes."

Services will continue as cleanup is ongoing.

Saturday was the first time some were allowed back into parts of the blast zone, but it's only the areas with the least amount of damage.

Some haven't been back since the explosion happened Wednesday night.

It could be days before some are back in their homes.

The town's mayor pro tem though said there were none unaccounted for, hinting that the death toll may stay where it is.

Officials stress the area is safe.

Officials have not yet outlined a timetable for the rest of the areas to reopen.

Authorities say they still don't know what caused Wednesday night's blast. At least 14 people died and more than 200 were injured.

For a town that's suffered immeasurable loss, they say they'll pick themselves up----calling themselves a small town with a big heart.


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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