“Daddy, are we dead?” Those were the first words from 9 year old Kaden Anderson after an explosion ripped apart the fertilizer plant in West on April 17. Kaden was riding with his father Bryan who had driven over to see where the smoke was coming from in their small farming community.
Once, Anderson saw it was the fertilizer plant on fire, he turned his truck around and was headed out of the area when the blast occurred. Less than 500 yards from the site, Anderson’s truck was knocked sideways to the other side of the street.
The sides of the truck had caved in and the windows shattered. Both Anderson and his son suffered cuts and bruises from the chest up. Anderson was able to drive the truck and seek medical care. When the explosion occurred, the Andersons were driving between an apartment complex and a retirement home. Both buildings were destroyed.
The impact of the explosion caved in garage doors and blew out windows in a large radius of the plant. Many homes that appeared unaffected by the blast had an X marked on the door indicating major damage inside.
The number of homes believed destroyed has climbed to 140 with the fatality count at 15 and up to 200 people injured.
“The insured losses should reach $100 million as soon adjusters are allowed to inspect all of the structures and vehicles that were damaged,” said Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas. “As far as I can tell, every policyholder in West has been contacted by their insurance company and help has been offered.”
In many cases additional living expense (ALE) checks have been issued for policyholders seeking shelter, food, clothing and for some, transportation. Others have declined the ALE offer having friends and family who have opened their homes to them.
The number of those who are uninsured and seeking assistance is high. The American Red Cross has already met with 180 families who have been seeking help with a place to stay and financial assistance. Charles Blake, Jr., Texas Disaster Officer for the American Red Cross, said the agency has agreed to pay the first month’s rent for those in need of housing.
One insurance adjuster said a policyholder described to him that cans of food inside her home had exploded but the house had no broken windows. Many homes have plywood over what were windows and doors. Meanwhile, construction crews have already begun to ascend on West in repairing homes to make them livable again.
Source: The Insurance Council of Texas
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