The Woodward News

Local News

April 21, 2013

Some residents allowed back home after Texas blast

Woodward, Okla. — WEST, Texas (AP) — Stranded families growing weary and frustrated since a deadly Texas fertilizer plant explosion left them barricaded from their battered homes finally began returning Saturday, but only under a curfew and strict warnings to not wander beyond their own yards.

Authorities gave the much-awaited OK after a nervous morning. Emergency workers had told residents packed in a hotel — waiting for updates about their neighborhood — that leaking gas tanks were causing small fires near the blast site, keeping authorities from lifting blockades.

Officials quickly emphasized that the fires were contained and the town of West was not in danger. They later repeated that message as evacuees in a mile-long line of cars inched along a downtown road and toward the blast radius, although the chances that most would get to their houses Saturday night dimmed as a 7 p.m. curfew approached.

"It is safe, safe and safe," City Council member Steve Vanek said.

Evacuated residents had been anxiously waiting to return and assess what is left of roughly 80 damaged homes after the blast Wednesday night at West Fertilizer Co. that killed 14 and injured 200 more. The blast scarred a four-to-five block radius that included a nursing home, an apartment building and a school.

Those allowed to return first were residents in a small quadrant of streets that were farthest away from the blast in the barricaded area, and whose homes sustained relatively less damage. Many appeared ready to begin living at their homes again and were not the least bit deterred as authorities went car to car asking if they were current on their tetanus shots and instructing them to drink only bottled water.

Some who do not live in the designated area were turned away. Officials said it could be weeks before those who lived closest to the explosion — many whose homes were irreparably destroyed — could go back.

Text Only
Local News
  • City, county commissions meet

    Roundup of Monday's Woodward city and county commission meetings.

    April 22, 2014

  • Boomers win 2 in Alva festival

    The Boomer baseball team had its most successful day of the season  since March with a pair of wins in the Alva Festival on Saturday.

    April 22, 2014

  • Glitches prompt suspension of testing

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma's public schools superintendent suspended online testing across the state on Monday after middle and high school students systemwide experienced disruptions during high-stakes standardized tests for the second consecutive year.

    April 22, 2014

  • Mooreland Art Show Saturday

    MOORELAND--There will be a lot of talent on display at the 28th annual Mooreland Spring Arts and Crafts Show.

    April 22, 2014

  • Boiling Springs pool undergoing major upgrades

    There will be a new way for everybody to cool off this summer.

    April 22, 2014

  • Testing glitches in Oklahoma prompt suspension

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — For the second year in a row, standardized testing for Oklahoma students has been disrupted, prompting the state superintendent to suspend all online testing for the day.

    April 21, 2014

  • Precautionary lockdown lifted at Southwestern

    WEATHERFORD, Okla. (AP) — Southwestern Oklahoma State University has lifted a precautionary lockdown that had been issued after the school received an unconfirmed report of a man on campus with a gun.

    April 21, 2014

  • Commissioners to act on agreements

    Lawn care will be the focus of action at the Woodward City Commission meeting Monday, April 21 at 7 p.m. in City Hall.

    April 20, 2014

  • Disaster assistance charity organizing

    The 2012 Woodward tornado did more than just destroy a significant part of Woodward, in an ironic way it helped create a springboard for some who recognized a need for a different kind of disaster assistance.

    April 20, 2014

  • Area school calendars

    School activities for April 21-26

    April 20, 2014