Blast-damaged apartments in West, Texas. (Photo courtesy of Mark Liston.)
Blast-damaged apartments in West, Texas. (Photo courtesy of Mark Liston.)

When a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded last week, the blast concussion broke glass as far away as two miles, according to Douglas Dotson of Glass Doctor-Heart of Texas.

Dotson’s franchise is located in Waco, Texas, and he, along with Mark Liston, president of Glass Doctor and a blogger for™, have gone into the area to lend a hand.

“Each day more areas are opened for owners and contractors to get to,” says Dotson. “I have worked tornados when I was in Kansas and have traveled to hail storms and hurricanes [destruction area] in many states. But this is different than what I have seen before. The concussion has broken glass as far away as two miles, the closer you are, the worst it is. Almost every house will need much more than glass replaced, as ceilings also all fell in and doors were blown in.”

The death toll from the explosion has now risen to 15, according to reports.

“If a person was treated and released from the hospital, that could mean a lot of things,” Dotson says. “As an example, I had one person tell me they knew of a woman and two children who are now blind. Others have permanent hearing damage,” Dotson says.

As for repairs, he says it’s hard to access the area. But the damage is extensive.

“It’s still not easy to get in and really the repairs have not started up to this point as it has been all about board-ups to protect what is left. Adjusters are waiting on structural engineers to evaluate for structural damage before releasing any payments to those insured,” he says.

Liston echoes Dotson.

“We did, however, have a chance to board up one of the houses on the corner of Zone 2 and Zone 3 [Zone 3 being the most-damaged area],” he says. “Technically it was Zone 3, but the state patrol officer let us walk to the house. After all, it was just across the street from Zone 2. The officer had 40 years on the state police force. He had never seen anything like this. He told us that many of the men who were helping had been to war and they had never seen devastation such as this.”

Liston encountered a local business owner whose neighbor was apparently blinded by flying glass shards at the time of the blast.

“Her neighbor’s young granddaughter was blinded in just one of her eyes,” Liston adds. “Another neighbor lost half of her foot in the blast.”

As for repair and cleanup, Liston says there are restoration companies and contractors “swarming” the area.

“At Glass Doctor, we are on-site every day. We took a new van and put it into immediate service loaded with everything we need to do board-ups,” he says.

Dwyer Group delivered pallets of wood for Glass Doctor and Rainbow Restoration, as well as the community in general, to help with boarding up buildings. Dwyer Group is the parent company for Glass Doctor and Rainbow Restoration.

“I don’t know what tomorrow will bring or what will happen when we can actually get into Zone 3,” he says.

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