Praying for West,TX

Was it not just TWO days ago that I was posting on how devastating and heartbreaking a tragedy was that occurred on MONDAY?? 
Yes, it was.
And now, it's Thursday, and my heart hurts all over again! 
Less than 2 hours away from Austin, the small town of West, Texas was faced with tragedy yesterday. 
What began as a fire at a fertilizer plant in West, TX ended in an explosion that registered a 2.1 on the Richter scale.  The explosion was felt more than 45 miles away...
And once again, people's lives have been altered. 
More than 15 people have died, including firefighters and at least one paramedic. 
Over 150 others have been injured. 
My heart and prayers go out to anyone and everyone affected by this explosion.  Reports now state that the cause of the explosion is uknown, although early on it was thought that an ammonia tank had caught fire and exploded.  But until they are sure, they are treating the incident as a crime
Near the explosion site was a nursing home, of which collapsed, leaving several residents lost and stuck in the rubble.  The nursing home and at least half of the town has been evacuated. 
A man was working nearby on the highway, and immediately went in search of people to help after what happened - he ultimately made three trips to the hospital, his truck loaded down with victims.  On his last trip, he took a 95 year-old resident of the nursing home to the hospital.  Her request was that he please go and find her Bible and prayer book.  Out of all of her possessions, those items are what she sought out most. 
Once again, people have come together in the face of danger and tragedy to show their selflessness & heroism, no matter how small.  Once again, we are shown that in desperate times of need, people can and do band together to do what needs to be done. 
The latest:
Apr 18, 2013
11:40 a.m. ET: Speaking to reporters, Waco police spokesman Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said that over 160 people have been injured, but that number could go up.

“I’d imagine that’s increased at this point,” he said.

Swanton also clarified that earlier reports of looting in the area were overestimated, and that there was only one instance of a looter.
“I have confirmed at least there was an incident last night when they thought they may have had a looter,” he said. “It was an isolated incident.”
Destruction in the area had varied, Swanton said.
“It ranges from broken windows to complete devastation. There are homes that are no longer homes … walls were ripped off, roofs were peeled back.”

Swanton told reporters that the cool weather in the area has been helpful, but they want to rescue survivors before rain increases.

“As the hours go by with the temp getting cooler, with rain here, we certainly want to find folks, if they’re in the environment, injured. Numerous search teams are searching as rapidly as they can to save these people,” he said. 
10:31 a.m. ET: Aboard Air Force One en route to Boston, President Obama called Gov. Rick Perry to offer any federal resources that may be needed to assist in the ongoing response and recovery effort.
9:45 a.m. ET: Sgt. William Patrick Swanton, spokesman for the Waco police, said at a press conference that one of the missing individuals has been found, a constable who is also a firefighter. He is currently hospitalized with “pretty serious injuries.”
“We’re still missing 3-4 firefighters,” he said. “No police or EMS are missing, as far as I’m aware.”
Swanton said that the “rough number” of fatalities remains at 5-15, but emphasized that it is still an estimate.
Swanton also said that a significant area of the fertilizer plant had been destroyed, and that homes were leveled as far as five blocks away.

“Homes have been destroyed. Part of that community is gone,” he said.

A small amount of looting had been reported in the area, Swanton said. There are some unidentified people in the area.
“I can’t tell you the number of looters or whether they have been caught … that is a significant concern for us,” he said.

Authorities are now doing a more methodical search — under beds, in closets — and are still in search in rescue mode, and are not yet in recovery mode.
There is no word yet on the cause of the fire, Swanton said.
Lives have been lost.  Homes have been destroyed.  The panic.  The fear.  The heartbreak. 
I do not have a personal connection with West, Texas, but I'm familiar with what it's like to grow up in a small town.  West's population is about 2,700 and is a very tight-knit community, much like my hometown.  The impact of this incident will last for years and years to come.  And the loss of lives and homes and schools will be that much more intense. 
Today, I'm especially praying for and loving on the town of West, Texas. 
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