West, Texas Mayor Reflects on Year Since Deadly Blast - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

West, Texas Mayor Reflects on Year Since Deadly Blast

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Thursday will mark one year since a fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people and crippled the town of West, Texas. It's been a painful recovery, but the town's mayor is optimistic about the rebuilding efforts.

In West, it is a new day. Street-by-street and block-by-block.

The town recently hired the same economic development consultants who helped New Orleans and Galveston start over after Hurricanes Katrina and Ike. And for the first time since the town's darkest day last year, folks who live here are beginning to ask a painful question: should a new fertilizer plant be built in West?

"That's a hard pill, that's going to be a hard pill to swallow for some people," says Mayor Tommy Muska.

With the West plant gone, the mayor says farmers must travel up to 30 miles away to get the fertilizer they need. "You know it's a needed industry, somewhere in this area. Is it right here in West? I don't know. Will it be zoned in an area where people won't build around it? Hopefully."

The mayor says he will never forget the 15 people who lost their lives that day, mostly first responders, some who volunteered with him at the fire department. "You don't ever get over it. I still, I still right now, you say that, I see Cody Dragoo and his little smile, and I see Joey Putejovsky and his dimple."

There are two flags flying over the ambulance shed. Someone lowered them to half-staff after the explosion, and they've remained that way ever since - a powerful symbol for the town. "I was born and raised in this town, and I swore after this happened, it wasn't going to die on my watch."

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