West business damage (credit: CBS 11 News)

West business damage (credit: CBS 11 News)

WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – The blast from the explosion at the West Fertilizer plant Wednesday night caused damage to property in town and far away. Standing in almost any spot, broken windows can be seen for miles around.

West Food Mart lost more than half of the storefront windows in the blast. Still, they made sure to be open Thursday morning. While cleaning up the mess inside, Denton Gerik was thankful the losses weren’t bigger.

Gerik’s great grandmother was in the nursing home nearest the plant and was rescued by an uncle who is a member of the fire department. “They were going through there and all that stuff, and found her and pulled her out,” he said. Surviving the blast impact and building damage would be miraculous for anyone, but even more so for Gerik’s great grandmother. She’s 97 year old.

Another building in West was to soon house the town’s first museum. But a new chapter in that history will delay those plans.

Mike Sulak opened his pharmacy Wednesday night to emergency responders. He gave anything he could to help rescuers stock the triage center at the football stadium. It wasn’t as if the blast hadn’t damaged his house, but Sulak said he’d fix those things later. “The front door is blown in, all the windows on that side are blown in.”

Mike Maler was just driving up to the fire in his SUV when the plant exploded. “I looked away for a minute and was going to jump that curb and pow! I mean you felt it first.”

Maler said he got out of his truck and ran to his house a block away. As he ran up he saw that, “Every window is knocked out, like they just picked it up and set it [on the ground]. And all the bricks are knocked off.” The area was quickly cordoned off and police wouldn’t allow him back into his neighborhood.

While nearly every window is blown out, pretty much every door is open to those in need. The shockwave that crumbled property and took lives has left a town in shock. Now as survivors walk through those open doors others will be left thinking of those who will no longer be coming in.

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