Just hours after a Chemical Safety Board presentation in Dallas, residents in West came out for a meeting to voice their concerns about the findings from the investigation.
This is the first time people were able to ask questions and several people got up to speak after the presentation.
The board gave the same four hour meeting to the residents in West, in which they admitted to still not knowing what caused the ammonium nitrate to explode.
Even though there are more questions than answers about the dangerous chemical, residents like First Baptist Church of West Pastor John Crowder says there were some positive takeaways.
“The second thing that I’m hearing is that our fire department did everything right. They’re saying in a fire like this one that you should go in, put water on it, unless it gets out of hand and then you withdraw,” says Crowder. “And that night, as was my understanding, the order was given to withdraw. It’s just everything happened so quickly that our guys didn’t have a chance to withdraw as quickly as we all would have hoped, but I’m encouraged that whether they know it or not, they’re actually saying that our guys did the right thing.”
Mayor Tommy Muska also addressed the board after the meeting and said he thinks the CSB is looking in the wrong direction by focusing on where ammonium nitrate is distributed and stored instead of on the manufacturers. Muska says ammonium nitrate manufacturers should be mandated to make a safer product because that would eliminate the other problems of where and how it’s stored.
Muska says the city will not be defined by the explosion and that he wants everyone to learn from what happen to prevent “another West” from happening.
"I think there’s going to be some ability for future firefighters around the country to learn from this disaster and I hope if they learn then the firemen that died won’t go in vain," says Muska.