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Town Of West Gathers To Pray After Plant Blast

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166874173 Town Of West Gathers To Pray After Plant BlastExplosion Details

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Residents attend a candlelight vigil and prayer honoring the victims of West Fertilizer Company explosion at St. Mary's Assumption Catholic Church April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Residents attend a candlelight vigil and prayer honoring the victims of West Fertilizer Company explosion at St. Mary’s Assumption Catholic Church April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

WEST (CBSDFW.COM/AP) – Worshipers came by the hundreds to pray at a non-denominational church service honoring the victims of a McLennan County fertilizer plant blast.

Several hundred people on Thursday night packed St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in downtown West. During the service one church leader said, “Our town of West will never be the same but we will persevere.”

A victim relief services chaplain says the prayers and hymns honor the first responders who rushed toward the danger of the plant fire that led to the blast — and those who were simply too close to the site when the blast erupted.

Hundreds of white candles were distributed in the pews for a candlelight tribute.

Initial reports put the fatalities in the Wednesday blast as high as 15, but later Thursday authorities backed away from any estimate and refused to elaborate. More than 160 people were hurt.

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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