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Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013 | 5:52 p.m.
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Updated: 5:53 p.m. Monday, April 22, 2013 | Posted: 4:36 p.m. Monday, April 22, 2013
DENVER, N.C. —
The city of West, Texas, is starting to pick up the pieces after a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant leveled homes and killed at least 14 people.Many of those killed were first responders.The tragedy has inspired Charlotte-area organizations to help raise money for the devastated city.Channel 9 reporter Jim Bradley was in Denver Monday afternoon, where a fundraiser event was held.Inside the Denver Fire Department, Lisa Usher and Becky Mitchell waited more than an hour for a chance to help a faraway Texas town flattened by the explosion.“You never know when you’re going to need somebody, so it’s good to help out,” she said.The fundraiser is just one stop on a cross-country tour by Tim Smith, who is a part of a cable TV show about Moonshiners and who is now heading to West, Texas, which has a population of 2,800. Denver, in Lincoln County, is about the same size. Denver Fire Chief Jay Flynn said while there are no fertilizer plants in Denver, there are five huge propane storage facilities.“Huge potential hazard there … unlikely, but very high risk,” Flynn said.There are other North Carolina connections to West. In Charlotte Monday, Scott Holmquist told Channel 9 that 10 chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team are now ministering to blast victims.Holmquist said of their mission, “To bring comfort and hope, because this is totally upside down … it turns your world upside down.”The devastation in Texas won’t be erased by chaplains or donations. Still, communities such as Denver hope sharing what they have can at least ease the pain in a town torn apart.“Hopefully, as many small communities can band together … we can make a big difference even through we’re small,” Flynn said.
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