Damage From West Explosion Will Likely Top $100 Million

By: Matt Howerton Email
By: Matt Howerton Email
Damage from the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West will likely total more than $100 million, an insurance trade group estimates.

The crater left by the explosion. (From pool video)


West Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Vanek told reporters Monday that 140 to 150 homes are in the section of the town hardest hit by the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion and he says at least half of them were destroyed in the blast.

That section, north of Spring Street,remains closed to residents.

Residents of the other two sections of the 37-block area affected by the blast have been allowed to return to their homes and Vanek said Wednesday water service could be fully restored to those neighborhoods from Oak Street to Spring Street by Friday.

The water system is pressurizing and the water could be safe to drink as soon as Friday, he said.

Until then, however, a boil order remains in effect for the entire community.

West Mayor Pro-Tem Steve Vanek told reporters Monday that 140 to 150 homes are in the section of the town hardest hit by the April 17 fertilizer plant explosion and he says at least half of them were destroyed in the blast.

Residents of the other two sections of the 37-block area affected by the blast have been allowed to return to their homes and Vanek said Wednesday water service could be fully restored to those neighborhoods by Friday.

The water system is pressurizing and the water could be safe to drink as soon as Friday, he said.

Until then, however, a boil order remains in effect for the entire community. (John Carroll)


 

WEST (April 24, 2013)—The Insurance Council of Texas, an insurance industry trade group, said Wednesday losses from the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West will likely exceed $100 million.

Insurance Council of Texas spokesman Mark Hanna said Wednesday that insured losses after the explosion in West included dozens of damaged homes, businesses and cars as well as the costs of resettling displaced residents.

Last week's explosion at West Fertilizer Co. left a crater 90 feet wide and totaled nearby homes and buildings, leaving at least 14 dead and about 200 injured.

The homes closest to the plant have been kept off-limits as officials investigate the blast.

Hanna says he believes as many as 140 homes were destroyed, based on conversations with numerous insurance agents and adjusters.

The explosion on April 17 at West Fertilizer Co. left a crater that’s 10 feet deep and 93 feet across, Assistant Texas Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner said during a news conference Tuesday.

Investigators are trying to find the first heat source and where the fire started, Kistner said.

A rail car on the property loaded with ammonium nitrate wasn’t the cause of the fire, Kistner said, but rather a “victim” of the fire.

Investigators haven’t determined the quantities of chemicals stored at the plant at the time of the fire, he said.

More than 600 residents showed up to a meeting Tuesday night where the Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tem answered questions.

At the meeting residents were told it may be up to three weeks until water service is restored to parts of town.

(West: Information For Residents, Numbers To Call, Ways To Help)

(West: More Headlines And Information)

(City Of West Website)

(Funerals And Memorial Services)

West Mayor Pro-Tem said work continued Tuesday to restore utilities and said a boil order remains in effect for the entire community.

About 350 homes were without water and electrical and natural gas service was limited in areas affected by the explosion.

He said officials will soon be able to allow residents of the most heavily damaged area of the city to return to their homes.

City crews are clearing debris from roadways, he said.


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