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West Blast Damage May Be More Extensive Than Thought

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WEST (CBSDFW.COM) – CBS 11 News has uncovered more information about the extent of the damage in the town of West, Texas after a fertilizer plant explosion on Wednesday.

Most of the activity by rescue and emergency crews has been centered on a five-block radius around the plant. But CBS 11 discovered there is significant damage that officials may not have seen yet.

While in West, reporter Jason Allen heard stories of homes and businesses, far from the plant, that had doors and windows blown in. So the CBS 11 crew took a look at the map and set out to see if what they heard was true.

Initially Jason said, “Everything really looks fine here compared to what we’ve seen in downtown West.” Then the reporter turned and said, “But this neighborhood, this whole street is directly in the path of the explosion, which was about two miles away. What we discovered… is significant damage to just about every home on this road.”

In one house, that sits across a freeway and over a hill from the main damage zone, windows were shattered, door frames were blown across rooms, and the roof was lifted with enough power to force nails through the ceiling.

The house is where Chris Cary lives. “It’s been about 24 hours since the explosion and I keep thinking, ‘is there going to be another one.’ It’s just unreal.”

Cary was home with his family during the explosion. His children were sitting by the windows. He said everyone on his street evacuated. Despite that, he’s still shaking 24 hours later.

“Hearing about all the first responders and firefighters killed… I’m a first responder and firefighter myself, and its just tragic,” he said. “You never think anything like that would happen, in the Town of West.”

Comparatively, the damage is worse at Michael Janek’s house. The entire back wall of his home is standing, but it now tilts inward, toward the living room. “All this rock has turned where the window panes have went in,” he said.

Janek talked about the reports he has heard about all of the damage being contained to the area east of Interstate-35, near the plant. His house is proof the radius is much larger.

“I grew up here. Been around this town all my life…not a good scenario,” he said looking at the damage.

Even 24 hours after the blast there was s sense of uneasiness with a lot of people. It could be a while before everyone, adults and children, genuinely feels calm.

Cary said one of his young sons put his hands on his ears after the blast and didn’t take them down for 45 minutes. He was still putting his hands up to his head hours later.

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