News / USA

Residents of Devastated Texas Town Work to Restore Lives

Residents of Devastated Texas Town Work to Restore Livesi
X
April 26, 2013 1:17 AM
President Obama is visiting the central Texas town of West, where a massive explosion last week killed 14 people, injured 200 and destroyed or heavily damaged around half of the homes. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from West, even as they grieve, people there are working to restore their houses and their lives.

Residents of Devastated Texas Town Work to Restore Lives

Greg Flakus
— President Obama visited the central Texas town of West, where a massive explosion last week killed 14 people, injured 200 and destroyed or heavily damaged around half of the homes. Even as they grieve, people in the town are working to restore their houses and their lives.
 
The funeral procession was made up mostly of fire trucks and passed under a giant American flag.  It's the first funeral of many to come in this Texas town and is for volunteer fireman Kenneth Harris.  He died trying to stop the blaze that preceded the explosion at the West fertilizer plant.  

The explosion on April 18 was so powerful that it registered it as a 2.1-magnitude earthquake. It collapsed an apartment complex and destroyed homes in a five-block radius.

Although most residents survived with no injuries, almost everyone in this close-knit community knew someone who died, was injured or lost a home.

Dorothy Zahirniak barely survived but lost her home. “When I heard the blast, I thought 'My God, what was that?' and then the ceiling fell down on me,” Zahiriniak said.

Even outside the main blast zone, many houses suffered structural damage. Homeowners have hired contractors to help remove furniture and other items that can be salvaged.

Most residents who were displaced are with relatives in the area, but the local Veterans of Foreign Wars offered shelter.

“We set up a shelter and we are accepting donations of clothing, food, household items and monetary funds to help rebuild the city. We are assisting residents with distribution of said items. We are serving three meals a day,” said Bobby Jones, who is with the local VFW chapter.

The food often consists of Texas favorites like Mexican burritos and barbecue.

The barbecue is Texas-style, prepared in a big smoker operated by volunteers from Operation Barbecue Relief.

Bryan McClarty assembled the team and brought the food.

“We have got people from all over the state of Texas down here to help them. All they need is just a little bit of comfort and time right now, in need, and they will be just fine,” he said.

Most people here are of Czech descent and take pride in their heritage.

As the investigation continues into what caused the explosion, residents are making plans to rebuild and recover.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid