Thursday, April 18, 2013

thinking of West, Texas....

across Texas and around this country, in towns like West, the fire and rescue department is manned by volunteers.  brave men and women drop whatever they're doing in an instant and race to the call. be it a house fire, a car wreck or the conflagration that faced the West VFD yesterday afternoon, when the alarm sounds, regard for personal safety takes a back seat and helping those in need becomes the focus.. A number of West's VFD responded to the fire at the fertilizer plant; and then there was the explosion. 

it appears that some members of West's fire department who answered that initial call are missing. volunteer fire fighters and ems personnel, whose aim was to suppress the fire and treat any injuries on scene, may have been claimed by the blast. it is confirmed that two EMS personnel have died answering that call.

a search continues today looking to locate, hopefully to rescue those volunteers who answered that initial alarm.  a careful house to house search looks to find any citizen living in the blast zone who has yet to be accounted for.

small communities like West are extremely tight knit.  having one anothers back is a given and more than that, a necessity.  Unlike Boston, which has the benefit of multiple fire and police stations, towns the size of West must deal with such disasters as best they can, alone, until "the cavalry" can arrive from the next town over, from the next county and today from around the state and nation. 

no one wakes up on wednesday morning thinking that by the end of the day the town you've lived in all your life will be the scene of mass destruction with friends and neighbors killed, or hurting.  no thought given that the quiet anonymity of your home town will have given way to cnn's cameras broadcasting video of the explosion and the aftermath to the world over and over again.

in time the magnifying glass that is "the press" will move on to the next big story.  the people of West will be left to pick up the pieces, but they are not alone.  john q. citizen will be there for his neighbors, and they for him, not for praise but because that's  the way things are done in West and in small towns like it everywhere.


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