TODAY   |  April 18, 2013

Triage nurse in Texas blast: ‘It looked like 9/11’

Jill Jenkins, a triage nurse at a nursing home that caught fire in the Texas fertilizer plant explosion, and Crystal Jerigan, who lives near the site of the explosion, talk about the blast, saying “the fire was completely out of control.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> let's turn to crystal, she was at her home a few blocks from the plant at the moment of the explosion. jill jenkins is a triage nurse that raced to the scene. ladies, good morning to both of you.

>> hi.

>> hi. huh?

>> i gather that one of you can't hear me. whoever can hear me, if you could just translate a little bit. crystal, you were in your home, your home is close to the plant, what did you experience?

>> yes, ma'am. my house is about 15 blocks away from the fertilizer plant. and we saw the fire. you heard the emt trucks as they drove by with west being a small town , you always want to see what's going on. within five minutes, the fire was completely out of control. i could see the first response team as they had their trucks, you know, kind of half-mooned around the fire. i turned around and walked back to my house and was going to get my kids in the car and get out of there trying to prevent from being around when the explosion happened. and about the time i got this far, you could hear the boom and within seconds it just sucked you in and threw you on the ground. i was able to get my oldest daughter jaylee was covered. and i was able to grab my youngest kylee, and we dove to the front door.

>> and are you all right, crystal? did you or any of your family members suffer any injuries?

>> no, luckily everybody in my family is safe. we were able to get the girls to my mom's who lives a couple miles out of town. we came back in trying to help some of our local neighbors and maybe get back to the house, but we were not successful in doing so.

>> jill, i hope you can hear me now. as i understand it, you are a nurse and you raced to the scene to try to provide some aid. what did you encounter in terms of injuries?

>> when i got on the scene, it was approximately two minutes after the explosion. it actually looked like 9/11, what you saw on tv with 9/11. there were people laying in their yards having been blown out of their homes. the nursing home looked like it'd been blown out. the west apartment, the structure was there, the apartments were just blown out. people were coming out bloody and injured. like the lacerations, head injuries , things like that. had a lot of great nurses here. and emergency personnel, and they were there onscene and helping.

>> well, what an evening for the both of you. we're so glad to see that you are okay and we know that you'll be continuing to help in the following days. ladies, thank you so much for being with us.