Returning from Dallas last night on I-35, southbound traffic came to a complete standstill several miles north of Waco, something not too unusual and always dreaded. While stopped, we first noticed one, then two, then lost count of the numerous emergency vehicles hurrying along the service road and the shoulders of the road -- all headed south. At first, it appeared there must be a horrific traffic accident up ahead. Then, snippets coming across FOX News described the fertilizer plant explosion near Waco, which we now know occurred in the historic and often visited town of West, Texas.
After an hour and a half parked on I-35, the traffic began to move. As we approached West, you could immediately sense the enormity of what had occurred. The smell from the explosion was distinct in the air as we approached. Then, passing over the main crossroadin town, emergency vehicles were lined up east and west as far as you could see. Massive smoke clouds lingered to the east of I-35. Search and rescue aircraft where overhead beaming down massive lights to aid those below. Even driving past West, for miles, you could see countless emergency vehicles headed north toward the scene.
The headline of the Wall Street Journal this morning reports the blast killed five to fifteen. Area hospitals are flooded with the injured seeking aid and the damage, not yet fully assessed, is extreme.
It appears, several of those killed were emergency personnel, they bravely rushed into danger to save lives, but these heroes were struck down when the initial fire erupted into a terrible explosion. Remember this small community in your prayers today, and the emergency responders who raced to their rescue.