Remembering West: Documentary Tells Story of Deadly Explosion

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WEST, Texas —  It’s a day most Texans remember well; for folks in West, it’s a day they’ll never forget.

“I saw the mushroom cloud go up and we were thrown back,” one woman told NewsFix last year.

April 17, 2013: a fertilizer plant in the heart of the tight-knit Texas town exploded, killing 15 – the majority of the victims were the town’s first responders.

Now, two years later, most of the damage has been cleared, but the emotional scars remain.

On the weekend of the dealdy anniversary, the documentary, The Day West Shook Texas, was shown at the Texas Theater in Oak Cliff. The viewing was part of the Dallas International Film Festival.

For filmmaker Jim Gerik, who is from West, the project was personal.

“This is a first-hand story of the people telling their story, what they went through,” Gerik explained. “[It] just encompasses this disaster. It’s actually something that needs to be told; it’s something that doesn’t need to happen again.”

Last year, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board concluded a lack of oversight failed the community, and the explosion could have been prevented.

The deadly blast rocked West to its core, but the community’s faith was never shaken.

“God is good and West is blessed,” one community member said.


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