18 April 2013 20:33 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Texas Governor Rick Perry on Thursday declared McLennan County, where the West Fertilizer retail distribution facility explosion occurred, a disaster area and said he would also ask President Barack Obama to issue a federal emergency disaster declaration.
The federal declaration will accelerate the release of funds to help the town of West with rebuilding and recovery in the wake of the massive blast that has left 5-15 people dead and at last count at least 160 people injured. The devastating blast also badly wrecked homes and businesses in the town of 2,800.
Perry said he has sent a full range of officials from various state agencies, including the Department of Public Safety and the Texas National Guard, to help with search and rescue and pipeline monitoring.
“West is a really small community, just a few thousand people. Anyone who grew up in a small town like West, they know this tragedy has most likely hit every family and touched practically everyone in that town,” said Perry.
Obama issued a statement pledging federal support and offering his sympathy to those killed and injured.
Perry said he had spoken with Obama while the president was en route to services being held in Boston to honor the victims of the bombings that took place on Monday at the city's annual marathon.
“We greatly appreciate his call and his gracious offer of support of course, and the very quick turnaround of the emergency declaration that will be forthcoming,” Perry said.
The accident occurred at West Fertilizer, which, according to company information, operates as a distributor. In addition to mixing dry fertilizer, the company has storage capacities that contain anhydrous ammonia.
It is still unclear to the cause of the fire the lead eventually to the massive explosion, which registered a 2.1 magnitude on the Richter scale.
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