NewsThe West Explosion: A Decade Later


Community responded to 2013 fertilizer explosion with overwhelming donations

Posted at 12:26 PM, Apr 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-17 13:26:26-04

WEST, Texas — In 1953, a group of police officers in Houston started the 100 Club.

It expanded to McLennan County in 2012, roughly one year before the explosion that shook the city of West.

Originally, the club raised money for only the families of fallen police officers, but that changed on April 17, 2013.

"There was such an outreach from the community wanting to do something and such an outreach on the board wanting to do something," Club Executive Director Brent Stroman said.

Stroman said the desire to help was so overwhelming, the club opened their policy to help firefighter families as well.

"The support was tremendous" he added. "It just shows you the good in people when there's a tragedy."

More than $70,000 was raised for the families of the 12 volunteer firefighters who lost their lives that day.

"We had donations coming in first of all from all over this area, all over the heart of Texas area," Stroman remembered. "We had donations coming in from all over the state and, if I remember right, we even had donations coming from outside the state of Texas."

Stroman remembers the generosity he saw that day, also the first responder's response. He was serving as Waco's Chief of Police at the time.

"We had a small dispatch area at that time, the basement of the police department," he said. "I remember just being twice as many people down there, as usual, handling the radio traffic."

Stroman said it was an all-hands-on-deck situation and Waco PD was just one of the many surrounding cities that sent their first responders to the area.

"The response was fantastic," he said.

"It was just overwhelming from the first responder community, police, fire, ambulances, to the community members themselves. That response was the same type of response we saw from people who couldn't be there and wanted to do something, they wanted to do it through donations."

Those donations continued to pour in until August when they were able to give it to the families.