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Local paper identifies victims in West, Texas, including 9 firefighters from 5 departments. 911 calls from explosion released

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DallasNews.com: Last year, West plant kept 270 tons of potentially explosive fertilizer

Previous coverage: here, here & here.

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WacoTrib.com has come up with a list of 11 of the 14 people who died in the explosion Wednesday in West, Texas. Nine of the 11 are firefighters. To my knowledge this is not from an “official” release from authorities in Texas. You will note that in addition to the West VFD and Dallas Fire & Rescue, previously mentioned, the firefighters are from the fire departments of Mertens, Navarro Mills and Abbott.

• Morris Bridges, 41. Fire sprinkler technician for Action Fire Pros. Member of West Volunteer Fire Department.

• Perry Calvin, 37. Student at Hill College Fire Academy. Member of Mertens and Navarro Mills volunteer fire departments.

• Jerry Chapman, 26. Member of Abbott Volunteer Fire Department.

• Cody Dragoo, 50. Foreman at West Fertilizer Co. Member of West Volunteer Fire Department.

• Kenny Harris, 52. Dallas city fire captain.

• Jimmy Matus, 52. Owner of Westex Welding in West.

• Joey Pustejovsky. West City Secretary. Member of West Volunteer Fire Department.

• Cyrus Reed. Worked at Waxahachie plant. Member of Abbott Volunteer Fire Department.

• Robert Snokhaus, 48. Central Texas Iron Works employee, West volunteer firefighter.

• Doug Snokhaus, 50. Central Texas Iron Works employee, West volunteer firefighter.

• Buck Uptmor, 40s. Owner of fencing company. Lived near West.

Here is an excerpt from the article by J.B. Smith and Tommy Witherspoon:

“It’s tough, man,” said Steve Vanek, West’s mayor pro tem and volunteer fireman who survived the blast. “All these guys we’ve known all our lives. One of the firemen that died was a lifelong friend of my son. I’ve known him since he was born.”

Vanek also said Friday that the West Volunteer Fire Department lost three of its five fire engines in the blast, including a new $200,000 pumper. He said the department will rebuild, but in the meantime it will need help from its neighbors.

“You talk about family — I mean, it really is,” Vanek said. Case in point were longtime West volunteer firefighters Robert and Doug Snokhaus. Robert, 48, and Doug, 50, also worked at Central Texas Iron Works in Waco, where they were on the emergency response team.

They were both amazing professionals at their respective responsibilities and not only long time employees but friends to everyone here at CTIW,” said company president David Harwell in an email to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. 

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