Melany Jean, UT student from West: "Such a great town."

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Emergency workers evacuate elderly from a damaged nursing home following an explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in West, Texas. An explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco caused numerous injuries and sent flames shooting high into the night sky on Wednesday.
Emergency workers evacuate elderly from a damaged nursing home following an explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in West, Texas. An explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco caused numerous injuries and sent flames shooting high into the night sky on Wednesday.

Melany Jean, an anthropology and art history junior from West, said she felt helpless and shocked when she heard the news of an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, a city about 20 miles north of Waco.

Jean, who went to West High School, said her parents moved closer to Waco earlier this year, but her good friends and grandparents still live in town — and that she was able to contact them through social media.

“I heard from my immediate friends, mostly because we’ve all been checking up on each other through social medial, twitter, etc..” Jean said. “So far, everyone has been fine, but it’s going to be an incredibly heavy blow. We’re a small community.”

Jean said she has faith in the resilience of her community.

“It’s a really small town, with a lot of people, and everyone is either family or feels like family,” Jean said. “I think the people who aren’t as affected will step up, quickly, for the people who are. It’s such a great town.”

Jean said the fertilizer plant, which is located in a residential area, has never been a cause for concern in the West community before.

“I’ve never heard anyone say they felt unsafe about it, ever,” Jean said. “Honestly, I’ve never even thought about it.”