One Year Later, West Leaders Still Worried About Long-Term Effects
Today is the anniversary of the explosion that killed 15 and injured over 200 in West. This afternoon city leaders met and gave an update on the city, one year after the blast. Mayor Tommy Muska said the town has rebuilt a lot, but he’s worried about the long-term affects of post-traumatic stress, concussions and other injuries that may have not been visible.
"Mentally I think this town will be OK," West Mayor Tommy Muska said. "It will take a long time, I said it at first—it’s a marathon not a sprint. And that’s gonna take a while but I think as anybody knows these people are very strong-willed faith based people and they’re gonna be ok it may just take a while."
The city is holding memorial tonight at the West Rodeo grounds. A minute of silence will be held at 7:51, marking the time of the explosion one year ago. Robbie Payne is the Chaplain for West’s fire department. He says after that moment, the city will be done with “the firsts.”
"We’re gonna be past all those firsts that everybody’s gone through," Robbie Payne said. "First Christmas, first birthdays, first anniversaries things like that. A hurdle that our families that lost loved ones had to face. So that’s the only thing as far as a relief point that we’re going to get over."
The State of Texas granted West an additional $4.8 million dollars in disaster relief yesterday. The money will be used for work on water treatment plants and other infrastructure repairs. The state awarded West $3.2 million in August 2013 and the federal government gave the city $20 million dollars earlier this year.