POSTED: Friday, April 19, 2013 - 4:15pm
UPDATED: Monday, April 22, 2013 - 5:38pm
West, TX — UPDATE: The death toll has risen to 15 after the West, Texas fertilizer explosion.
The death toll after the explosion at the West, Texas, fertilizer factory has climbed to 14, Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes told reporters Friday. Search and rescue efforts in the area are continuing, he said.
According to CNN, twelve bodies have been recovered in West, Texas, Texas Sgt. Jason Reyes said Friday.
West is where a fire and an explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday badly damaged a five-block area.
The blast, which residents described as "massive" and "overwhelming," left shattered homes and wreckage in a wide swath of West, TX, a town of only 2,800 people, according to CNN.
On Thursday , authorities estimated five to 15 people had been killed, more than 160 injured.
On Friday, the Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw issued the following statement regarding Wednesday’s fertilizer plant explosion in the city of West:
“DPS is continuing to work closely with our local, state and federal partners in response to the plant explosion,” said Director McCraw. “This is an ongoing process, and we are grateful and proud of the courageous first responders who selflessly and immediately responded to this incident last night. Those same responders worked through the night tending to victims of the explosion, and participating in search and rescue efforts.”
“DPS will continue to provide any resources necessary to assist the West community in response and recovery operations. Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted by this tragedy,” he said.
DPS Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd stated the following:
“Texas is fortunate to have highly trained first responders who are second to none. These dedicated individuals from state agencies, local governments and volunteer organizations never hesitate to risk their own lives with the number one priority of protecting and helping others at all costs,” said Chief Kidd. “In moments like this tragic disaster, we are proud to recognize the courageous work of these men and women.”
“Like most small towns, West is a tight-knit community where neighbors look after each other and join together in times of need. Local firefighters – most who work on a volunteer basis – medical personnel, town officials, and countless others came together last night under the most difficult of circumstances.”