TODAY   |  April 19, 2013

West, Texas mayor: We don’t know what’s left

Tommy Muska, a volunteer firefighter and the mayor of West, Texas, which was rocked by an explosion at a fertilizer plant on Wednesday, talks about the search for survivors and how the town will move forward.

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

>> muska is the mayor of west, texas . also a volunteer fireman. good morning. thank you for joining us. can you help me out on the numbers here? we're still hearing we don't know exactly how many people have died. i heard the number 15 . i heard it could grow to as many as 30. what can you tell us?

>> we got debriefed a moment ago from our incident command . we had 100% search. we recovered one fatality. we have not done the apartment complex . that's going to be done today.

>> you recovered the body but you know more people than that have died.

>> we recovered one fatality on the blast site except for the apartment. we did go in last night and recover our firemen. our first responders. and the emts as well as the employees and other people that were in the plant itself. those were recovered last night and brought out due to the chemicals they were brought out last night.

>> you said two of the firefighters were brothers. this is a personal tragedy for the people in this building behind us right here.

>> they were the first ones to get on those trucks and they were the first ones to go in that house and probably the first ones to go in that building a couple days ago.

>> we were speaking to someone recently to talked about this fertilizer distribution facility. said it had been here so long it was like a tree. you drove past it all the time and never thought about it. did you ever worry that it could present a problem like this?

>> you saw it. you worried that -- like i told you, the trains come through here and carry chemicals at 40 to 50 miles an hour. we live with that stuff all the time. that plant has been here forever. we're a rural community. that's part of our life. it's the crops and fertilizing crops and you have to have that. you don't pay second mind to it until a tragedy like this happens.

>> you're a rural community. small community. less than 3,000 people. everybody here knows somebody who has been impacted either by the loss of a loved one or loss of property. how does this town go forward?

>> one, we're going to finish the recovery process hopefully today. i want to get the people back into their homes to find out what they have. we don't know what is in our homes. i was fortunate enough to at least see my house. my house is unfortunately very open air now type house. my clothes are okay. i want to appreciate all of the donations. if i could tell you right now we don't need anymore donations as far as diapers and so forth. back here you see our truck. we lost three of our vehicles in that explosion. we are down to two trucks. we need possibly monetary donations if you want to do something to get our equipment back in order, the people need to see what they have. they may have stuff. they don't have a house. we may need plywood instead of diapers. that's what we'll focus on today and moving forward. we'll get houses rebuilt. this is a wonderful community. we'll get everything back to order one of these days.

>> west, texas , mayor tommy muska, also a volunteer fireman. our condolences to the people here in the fire company . you have suffered a terrible loss. have a good day.

>> mr. mayor, thank you very much. that's the situation here in west, texas . we'll have more in a little while. let's go back to new york and you.