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Since the April explosion of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, a criminal investigation has been opened into the causes of the initial fire and later blast. Fifteen people died in the incident, including ten first responders, and 200 more were injured. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has been providing millions in aid — but, since President Obama has issued a major disaster declaration, millions more are on the way.
FEMA initially declined to declare the explosion a “major disaster,” saying it was “not of the severity and magnitude that warrants a major disaster declaration,” writes Reuters. With the designation, however, West will receive more public funds, and West’s current top priority is to rebuild schools in time for a late August opening date.
The explosion seen from Waco, Texas, 20 miles away.
As a “major disaster” area, West will likely also receive private funds to assist individuals with things like therapy, according to the Associated Press. Although the causes of the fire are still unknown at this time, investigators believe it’s likely that the flames destabilized the ammonium nitrate fertilizer to explode with the force of an earthquake and blow a 93-foot crater.
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