Texas town gathers to pray after plant blast

  • Posted: Thursday, April 18, 2013 10:09 p.m.
AP photo
This aerial photo shows the remains of a fertilizer plant destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160, officials said.
AP photo This aerial photo shows the remains of a fertilizer plant destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160, officials said.

WEST, Texas — Worshippers came by the hundreds to pray at a non-denominational church service honoring the victims of a Central Texas fertilizer plant blast.

Several hundred people on Thursday night packed St. Mary of the Assumption Catholic Church in downtown West.

A victim relief services chaplain says the prayers and hymns honor the first responders who rushed toward the danger of the plant fire that led to the blast – and those who were simply too close to the site when the blast erupted.

Hundreds of white candles were distributed in the pews for a candlelight tribute.

Initial reports put the fatalities in the Wednesday blast as high as 15, but later Thursday authorities backed away from any estimate and refused to elaborate. More than 160 people were hurt.

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