I’m watching CNN now and listening to Cheryl Marak, a very emotional woman from West, Texas, talking about how her house was destroyed in this explosion, killing her dogs, and how her husband Marty, a West volunteer firefighter, will not come home, even though she’s begging him to. The town’s EMS director has earlier said on CNN that at least some firefighters who responded to the fire at the fertilizer plant were killed by the explosion.
West is a town of 2,500 people, which makes it about the same size as my own town. Here’s an interesting thing: Piers Morgan asked the woman he was interviewing by phone if her husband, Marty, is a professional firefighter. No, she said, he’s a volunteer. Everybody in the West Fire Department is. Marty is an air-conditioning and heating installer. The plant was on fire, and he ran to help put it out. And even though there’s still a great deal of danger there — toxic fumes, chance of second explosion — and his house is destroyed, and some of his friends and colleagues have been killed, Marty still won’t come home. Because he’s needed.
After that interview, Morgan spoke to the US Congressman who represents West, and brought up Marty Marak and his colleagues remaining on the scene, even though much of their little town has been destroyed, and it’s still in danger.
Explained the Congressman, “They’re trying to save their own community.” He went on to say that so many small towns in Texas are served by volunteer firefighters, taking care of their own. This is not only true for Texas, it’s true for so much of rural and small-town America. These guys get paid nothing to risk their lives. They do it because that’s what good men do for their communities.
After that, Morgan talked to Crystal Anthony, a West woman who was close to the plant when it exploded. How she survived, nobody knows. She said God protected her.
“Do you feel lucky to be alive?” Morgan asked her.
“I feel blessed to be alive,” she said.
God bless Texas. If you pray, pray for these people. We’ll know better tomorrow how else we can help.
UPDATE: [Sorry about this -- I took down the update; didn't want to be seen as being exploitative of this tragedy.]