Entries in Residents (2)


Days After Fertilizer Plant Explosion, Some Residents Return Home

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WEST, Texas) -- After small fires were contained at the site of the massive West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion, a town official said on Saturday that some residents are being allowed to return to their homes.

"Everything is safe. Any rumors you've heard today, forget about it," West City Council member Steve Vanek said at a news conference Saturday. "Everything is safe, safe and safe."

While the news was welcome for some of West's displaced residents, those returning are under strict orders to stay in their homes and will also have to adhere to an evening curfew.

Evacuated residents have been waiting to return to assess the condition of their homes and belongings after they were forced to flee at a moment's notice after a blast on Wednesday at West Fertilizer Co. killed at least 14 people, injured 200 more and carved a widespread path of destruction.

Firefighters responded at the plant on Wednesday at 7:29 p.m., and after realizing the severity of the situation, began evacuating people in the vicinity.

Approximately 20 minutes later, an explosion tore through a four-to-five block radius, leveling roughly 80 homes and a middle school and trapping 133 residents of a nursing home in rubble. The blast was so powerful, residents said it shook the ground and there were reports of people hearing it several miles away.

"At some buildings, walls were ripped off, roofs were peeled back," Waco Police Department Sgt. William Swanton said.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation

Donald Adair, the owner of West Fertilizer Co. and a lifelong resident of the town, said Friday his heart was "broken with grief."

"This tragedy will continue to hurt deeply for generations to come," Adair said in a statement.

"My family and I can't express enough our deep appreciation for the loving service and selfless sacrifice from within and around our community responding to the urgent needs of those affected," he said.

Adair vowed his company would "pledge to do everything we can to understand what happened to ensure nothing like this ever happens again in any community."

As the town works to rebuild after the tragedy, Vanek said a large memorial service is being planned to honor the victims, many of whom were first responders.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Few Signs of Christmas in Sandy-Ravaged Rockaways

Linsey Davis/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Aside from new basketball sneakers, TJ, Ricky and Maeve aren’t asking for too much this year.

They got power back a few weeks ago, and that superseded just about anything else they could have put on their wish lists to Santa.

On this, the night before Christmas, their street is anything but silent. The hum of generators fills the street. That’s what many of their neighbors are relying on to power appliances and light up the Christmas trees. According to the Long Island Power Authority, more than 10,000 customers in the Rockaways are still without power.

And while a white Christmas is unlikely this year, the kids on this street are still kicking around several inches of sand in their front yards. The sand, debris and downed power lines remain just as Sandy left those two months ago.

TJ, Ricky and Maeve live on a block with dozens of houses, but no one would guess it is Christmas from the looks of the street. Aside from two lonely wreaths hanging with garlands, the houses are more commonly adorned with unhinged doors, building permits and water marks.

But the 9-year-olds say they feel fortunate: They not only have power but Christmas trees, and they hope a visit from Santa will help them forget their last visitor — Sandy.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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