For the first time since a massive fertilizer plant explosion obliterated parts of West, students from that community returned to the classroom Monday.
Students from the middle school, intermediate school and high school are now attending class in neighboring districts that hurried to make accommodations after the last Wednesday’s blast damaged the schools in West.
Teachers and administrators were there to greet them with hugs and handshakes as they stepped off of the bus.
The town’s elementary school was not in the blast zone.
Some of the teachers who welcomed the students Monday had not yet been able to return to their own homes following the explosion.
Some residents who live on the perimeter of the blast zone are being allowed to return to their homes. But people who lived closed to the plant are not allowed in.
As the town still reels from the devastation, the first step toward a return to normalcy has many residents faithful that they will bounce back.
“We'll never be the same around here, but we are a community that I am so happy and so proud to call home,” said BJ Walters.
Meanwhile, authorities are still investigating what caused the explosion. While the exact cause is unknown, they say there was no criminal intent involved.
Frantic 911 calls released Monday show that it took only minutes for dispatchers to be swamped with calls from terrified residents. Nearly all 50 calls that flooded in during the next 35 minutes came from within a mile of the plant.