Life begins to return in West, Texas, after explosion

April 23, 2013 at 4:20 PM

WEST, Texas, April 23 (UPI) -- Funeral plans for the 14 people killed in a deadly fertilizer plant explosion are being finalized as the tiny Texas town grieved, officials said.

School children went back to class Monday though middle and high school pupils had to be bused to a school 15 miles away after the West, Texas, schools were damaged in the massive explosion. The children will attend class in Waco, Texas, until repairs can be made, school officials told CNN Tuesday.

Several of those killed still have not been publicly identified but disaster officials said nine of the 14 people were first responders desperately trying to extinguish the fire at the West Fertilizer Co., when the plant's stockpile of ammonium nitrate exploded, creating a 22-foot crater, leveling buildings for a several block radius and registering a reading equal to a 2.1-magnitude earthquake.

At least two others who lived in a nearby apartment complex that was destroyed in the blast were killed.

CNN said President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama will travel to Baylor University in Waco Thursday to attend a memorial service for victims of the West, Texas, explosion.

A Facebook page, "Prayers for West," has garnered more than 80,000 "likes" -- and was serving as a sort of clearing house for residents of the town to coordinate relief efforts, officials said.

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