Huge tragedy in West, Texas

Almost lost in the commotion of the bombings at the Boston Marathon this week was the devastation of the explosion at a fertilizer factory in the tiny town of West, Texas.

As of this writing on Friday afternoon, there are 12 confirmed dead and more than 200 injured – and more than 60 people are missing. Emergency crews still hope to find people alive in the rubble of houses that were within a four-to-five block radius of the factory.

The problem began at the factory Wednesday night with a fire. As firefighters and rescue crews battled the flames, a huge explosion rocked the plant. The explosion registered more than a magnitude 2 earthquake. At least six of the responders to the fire were killed in the blast.

An apartment building near the plant was destroyed. Parts of a nearby nursing home collapsed and homes were leveled.

Just like Boston, though, the resolve of the people has been incredible. As Texas Gov. Rick Perry pointed out, West is so small (about 2,800) that everyone knew everyone – so all the citizens lost friends and loved ones.

Nurses, doctors, firemen and EMTs have worked tirelessly since Wednesday night caring for the injured and searching for survivors.

It should be noted that the ammonium nitrate produced at the factory is very combustible it was the explosive in Timothy McVeigh’s truck bomb that destroyed the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995. That blast killed 168 and injured more than 600.

Our prayers are with the residents of West.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.