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West Residents, Officials Upset Over FEMA Decision

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Brian New
Brian joined the CBS 11 News team in 2013 after working a...
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WEST (CBSDFW.COM) - Dan Pokluda has come out of retirement to rebuild homes destroyed in April’s fertilizer plant explosion in West.

Several of the homes he’s rebuilding, he built nearly 40 years ago.

“The people here need help,” he said.

Pokluda, who served two years in the Army, is rebuilding the homes of five fellow veterans in West at no charge.

“If you’re a fellow veteran and he needs help, you help them,” Pokluda said.

He added he only wishes the federal government would do the same for his city.

Click For Comprehensive Coverage of the West Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Wednesday, FEMA informed the state the damaged caused by the fertilizer plant explosion does not warrant a major disaster declaration.

The decision angered West’s mayor, Tommy Muska.

He said, “I don’t know what their definition of the word disaster is but I know looking out my backyard what a disaster looks like.”

The City of West was counting on $17-million from FEMA to help pay to repair streets, sewer lines and water pipes.
West Independent School District was looking for FEMA to pick the $40-million its insurance isn’t covering to rebuild its schools damaged in the explosion.

West ISD Superintendent Marty Crawford said he was disappointment by FEMA’s decision but said he’s not giving up.
The State of Texas can appeal FEMA’s decision.

Homebuilder Dan Pokluda said he’s not counting on FEMA to change its decision.

He said, “They just hung us out to dry but we’ll buckle down and we’ll get it done. We have to.”

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