First Reports from West - April 17
First Reports from West: "What we need most right now are your prayers."
11 p.m. CDT, April 17– A little more than three hours ago a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant rocked the town of West, (approximately 15 minutes north of Waco), causing multiple injuries and leaving people trapped and buildings on fire. There are still several people unaccounted for at this time. At the time of this posting there are no official reports on the number of casualties that have resulted from the blast, but we can be sure that there will be no one in West who will not be affected by this blast. Also please realize that while there is little doubt that daybreak tomorrow will reveal some unimaginable devastation, much of the information on the internet and even the newspapers and TV News right now is coming from social media reports and have not been verified or confirmed. All any of us can do right now is to pray. The only thing that the mayor and other officials in West are requesting is prayer. Please pray for West and the surrounding area.
While we will be praying for every soul in the area, there are several Central Texas Conference churches within 15-20 miles of today’s blast. As such, we realize that there will be much concern for our United Methodist family in the area. The Central Texas Conference Service Center will post any vital information regarding our churches and church members as they become available. If you have family and friends in West, you can call 254-202-1100 for information on those directly affected. Please do not drive to West. I-35 is jammed and needs to be kept as clear as possible for emergency crews and the area is still not deemed as safe.
Since it is typically the first reaction of the members of the Central Texas Conference to want to assist our brothers and sisters in their time of need, it is important to remember that at this time officials on the scene are reporting that they have plenty of first responder assistance on the scene. People are asked to NOT come to West. In fact, residents of the area are still being evacuated due to health concerns from the possible ammonia fumes pouring from the still raging fire at the plant. Officials are reporting that if anyone feels called to help immediately, the best thing that they can do is visit their local blood bank and donate a pint of blood. For folks in the Waco area, you are asked to go to Carter and Scott & White Blood Centers.
Click here to see a list of Emergency Resources for West and the surrounding area - resources include emergency hotline numbers, blood donation centers and area organizations that have opened their doors for people who have been displaced and need shelter. Please check with ctcumc.org for more information as it becomes available.