It started as just a fire. But 911 calls following the Texas fertilizer plant explosion show it took only minutes for dispatchers to become swamped in calls from terrified and hysterical residents.
Nearly all 50 calls that flooded in during the next 35 minutes came from within a mile of the plant. Some knew what happened. Others relayed a terror of the unknown, saying only that windows had suddenly shattered and houses several blocks from the site were on fire.
Some pleaded for help for themselves or others they found injured or bleeding. Others sought reassurance. Still others offered up their own assistance.
In the end, firefighters and EMTs would account for 10 of 14 people killed, and more than 200 people in the town of 2,800 were injured.
From the previous story:
Gov. Rick Perry says a deadly fertilizer plant explosion in Texas wouldn't have been prevented if the state earmarked more money for industry inspections.
Perry told The Associated Press on Monday that he remains comfortable with the level of state oversight following last week's blast at the West Fertilizer Co. He says Texas residents have sent the same message through their elected officials.
Investigators say they have yet to determine what caused the explosion that killed 14 people and injured 200 others. Most of the dead were firefighters and emergency medics.
State environmental regulators last inspected the plant in 2006.
Perry has long heralded the state's low regulatory climate as an incentive for companies to relocate to Texas and bring jobs.
From previous story:
The White House says President Barack Obama will attend a memorial service for victims of the fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, Texas.
The service is scheduled for Thursday at Baylor University.
Last week's blast left 14 people dead and injured 200 others. The explosion was largely overshadowed by the Boston Marathon bombing.
Federal and state investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire that set off the explosion. Authorities say there are no signs of criminal intent.
Obama was already scheduled to be in Texas this week. He'll headline a Democratic fundraiser in Dallas Wednesday night, and then attend a dedication ceremony for President George W. Bush's library.