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Inside look at new West EMS

WEST, TX (KXXV) - West EMS is starting to move forward with a new building after losing so much in the April 17th explosion.

Four heroes gave their lives and the entire facility had to be destroyed. Nearly a year later, West EMS has a new building and ambulances are already responding to calls. There is still construction going on, though, but the inside is nearly finished. New furniture, TVs and bedrooms encompass a much larger living area for EMTs. Director George Smith says only the kitchen is smaller, but he says they didn't need a large one anyway.

"Now store here, and up in the attic a little bit, there's some room in the attic to store some things," Smith said.

Reporter, "So bigger, bigger space?"

"There's a lot bigger space and every bay you can drive through," Smith said.

Smith says everything is brand new except for a few odds and ends, including the slab the building sits on and one of three ambulances that wasn't destroyed. The building also flies the same American and Texas flag on the flag pole. Those two flags have flown at half staff everyday, 24 hours a day, since the explosion. The mechanism to take them down has even been taken off the flag pole.

"We just felt like it was an honor, it was a way for us to honor the number of our fallen heroes," Smith said.

Smith says they'll have an open house in May where they'll have a ceremony to take down the flags. He says they'll then fold the flags and put them in a display case inside the new building.

The new building is largely funded by insurance and the donations went largely to pay for upgrades. Smith gave a quick breakdown of a few donations and where they went. Here are a few:

Cattleman’s Relief Fund- $129,000 - used for ambulance.
Texas Farm Bureau- $125,000 - used for equipment.
Knights of Columbus- $10,000.
Other donations:
$16,000 - used for stretcher.
$30,000 - used for a monitor.

Smith says he's thankful for all the donations but they could always use more.
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