Community of West reacts to arson developments

Posted at 9:34 PM, May 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-11 22:59:42-04

Three years after the explosion, West has been able to move forward. The school, along with several homes damaged by the explosion, have been rebuilt.

Last year, a playground near the site reopened and was dedicated to the first responders who gave their lives on that fateful day.

As the community continues to grow, today's announcement from the ATF that the fire is incendiary develops a new challenge for the still-grieving community. 

Senior Pastor of First Baptist church in West said the community will be tested after three years of healing.

"I'm hurting  over the three years we made a lot of progress emotionally it's ripping the scab off the wound," Crowder said. 

Several members of the community cited the ability to come together as critical for surpassing the tragedy. As some of the old feelings resurface, residents are hoping they can once again lean on one another.

Ruby Kotch of Village Bakery said after the tragedy she saw her neighbors pull together.

"I think coming together as a family, to accept this as arson i think we're gonna have to do that again," Kotch said.

One thing most residents agreed upon was the need for community closure. Crowder warned however before the community reacts too strongly, wait for the completion of the investigation.

"I feel for the family of the victims, I feel for the community. I don't' know if that means if kids playing around, someone wanted to intentionally hurt the fertilizer plant. I have a little hesitation let's try to wait to see what else we can learn." Crowder said. 

Copyright 2016 KXXV. All rights reserved.