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West Remembers 15 Fallen, 1 Year Later

Ryland Barton, KWBU News

Yesterday was the one-year anniversary of the fertilizer plant explosion that killed 15 and injured over 200 in the West. Much of the town gathered at a memorial last night to remember the fallen.

West has a population of fewer than 3,000 people, there were reports of over 2,000 people gathered at the city’s rodeo grounds last night. The crowd held a minute of silence at 7:51 pm, commemorating when last year 270 tons of ammonium nitrate fertilizer was detonated by a fire at the West Fertilizer plant. Tommy Muska eulogized some of the firefighters who died in the blast.

"I woke up this morning thinking what was going on in heaven," Muska said. "And I could see Lucky: he’s working on Boots Up II and I could see Buck and he’s trying to weld on the Pearly Gates. And knowing Joey he’s counting the gold bricks on the sidewalks up there and Cody’s probably fixing up some fertilizer so St. Matthew can go do the yard. Snokhouse boys are sitting under a tree drinking a beer with their Bar B Que pit and showing how Luke and John how much better Bar B Que brisket tastes than that smoked fish they used to eat."

Muska continued by giving a speech on the state of the City of West. The city is still in the process of rebuilding schools, roads and infrastructure like water and sewer lines. Muska focused on the emotional state of the city.

"The state of West is that the city will have a new normal, we just don’t know what that normal’s gonna look like yet," Muska said.