Residents recall horror of TX blast - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Residents recall horror of TX blast

Those who lived in the blast zone of Wednesday night's deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, TX, are slowly coming to terms with the devastation and horror of the experience.

"In just a few seconds, it just blowed the ceiling down on me and all the windows blowed out," said 84-year-old West resident Ervin Cinek.

He was inside of the West Rest Haven nursing home when the fertilizer plant, located just a few blocks away, exploded.

"I thought the world was coming apart," Cinek said. "I didn't think I was even gonna get out of there. But I made it out."

The lifelong West resident is now staying with his nephew.

Like many people evacuated from the blast zone, he's leaning on family.

"My mom's house is completely gone," said West resident Mary Berger.

Her mother lived three blocks away from the fertilizer plant.

The explosion leveled the home - collapsing the ceiling as Berger's mother watched television.

"Thankfully, she had no scratches, no cuts - nothing," said Berger. "It was a miracle."

Berger, who also worked at West Rest Haven where Cinek lived, said the devastation to the nursing home is even greater.

"I've never seen anything like it in my life," she said, her voice cracking. "It was terrible, just terrible."

For safety reasons, state troopers have been placed at all streets leading into the blast zone.

They also want to prevent looting at evacuated homes and businesses.

"The other day I was just eating and we came outside, and this guy rolled down his window and he's like, 'Where did it happen? How can I get back there?'" said a clearly annoyed resident named Jacob, who did not want his last name given.

Jacob said the driver even asked him how to get around police barricades.

He didn't tell him.

"It's just not right," Jacob said about gawkers and those who might be wanting to cause trouble. "That's just not something you should be asking about at a time like this. You should just worry about the people."

Most people truly are concerned about the residents of West.

In fact, many kind-hearted folks have flooded area blood banks to donate - while others have driven food and supplies into the tiny town of about 2,600.

If you'd like to help, you can make a contribution to the Heart of Texas Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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