Dozens of people attend screenings of West documentary at Hippodrome

Posted at 10:43 PM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 21:31:35-04

On Tuesday, dozens of people attended the screenings of the 2013 West explosion documentary at the Waco Hippodrome.

The Day West Shook Texas Director and Producer Jim Gerik who grew up in West made the film to show the human impact of the disaster.

"With the explosion, people knew about this destruction but they didn’t know what it did to this town and the people itself and it should be their story," Gerik said.

Ross resident Lorene Baker who helped in the aftermath of the explosion said she never imagined this tragedy would happen this close to home. Fifteen people died, hundreds of people were injured and hundreds of buildings were destroyed.

The nurse's son had a connection with the tragedy.

"He came home and said mom ‘I knew those firemen who got killed' and I could remember the devastation on his face," Baker said.

Baker who watched the documentary said it was difficult reliving those memories.

"Knowing that some of the people I worked with, some of the people I knew, some of the people my family knew were all affected by what was going on during this time period," Baker said.

Mayor Tommy Muska said watching the documentary could help with the healing process.

"I think some people will see this and it will bring some good memories. It will bring back some painful memories. We lost some really good people that day," Muska said.

He also it will also show the resilience of the community.

However, she said it was encouraging to see the progress of the city.

"They are tenacious, they are strong. They are the go-Texan people you want to be their friend. They picked up the pieces and rebuilt. We rebuilt the school, rebuilt the nursing home and rebuilt the streets," Muska said.

Baker also said it's incredible to see the progress firsthand.

"I look and see what West has become and what West has done and you think ‘Oh My Goodness. They’ve come back from total annihilation to something that is worthwhile,'” Baker said.

Gerik said he hoped those who watch the movie would talk about it in order to prevent from it happening in another community.

After the last screening of the movie, a question and answer with Gerik and local leaders followed. During it, they thanked members of other communities for their support during and after the disaster.

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