Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

April 18, 2013

Local officials monitoring West recovery

‘Assets ready to deploy’ if needed

By Bob Belcher
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Even as the first reports of the disastrous explosion at a fertilizer plant in West began to come in, Navarro County was preparing to help.

Eric Meyers, the county’s emergency management coordinator, along with Elmer Tanner, Navarro County Sheriff, manned the county Emergency Operating Center Wednesday night to begin monitoring developments coming out of McLennan County.

Meyers said they notified local and state officials in West of the availability of local assets to assist in the rescue efforts.

“We are in a stand-by position and fully ready to respond if requested,” Meyers said.

As of Thursday afternoon, no request for additional assistance had been received, Meyers said.

Meyers explained that following established response protocols is helpful and necessary in situations such as the West explosion, rather than just responding without a request or notification.

“It allows them to better track assets that are on the scene,” he said, which allows on-site first responders to better manage a disaster situation.

Meyers said the agency has also set up a coordinated monetary donation effort through the Corsicana and Navarro County Chamber of Commerce at 120 North 12th Street in Corsicana to assist in relief efforts in the West community.

“We are also working with on-scene personnel there to establish a link for those funds where they will flow directly to the community of West to be utilized there,” he said.

Late Thursday, local, state and federal teams were still working the blast scene and surrounding area, trying to effect rescue of any people that may still be trapped under debris, as well as recovery of any who may have perished in the blast.

“They will continue to work for the next several days ... it will be an on-going process,” Meyers explained.

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Bob Belcher may be reached by email at bbelcher@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “soundoff” on this story? Email: soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com