Obama to attend memorial for victims of Texas plant explosion
First lady Michelle Obama will also attend the service at Baylor University in nearby Waco, Texas.
Before leaving Washington, Obama signed a proclamation ordering all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff for the day.
Experts estimate the losses from last week’s fertilizer plant blast in Texas at over 100 million dollars, report U.S. media, citing data from local insurance companies.
At least two suits have been filed against "Adair Grain", whose “West Fertilizer" plant exploded on April 17 in the town of West as firefighters were dousing a blaze at the chemical factory. As a result, 14 people were killed and about 200 injured.
Over 140 nearby buildings were almost completely destroyed. Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the explosion.
A search-and-rescue operation is on in a small Texas town of West. The town Mayor, Tommy Muska, told an ad-hoc press conference that the death toll already stands at 14, while the number of those listed as missing in the wake of the blast makes up 35 to 40 people.
It is known for a fact that four of those who died were firefighters who tried to put out the fire at the fertilizer factory.
The Voice of Russia’s correspondent reports from the location of the event.
The debris is continuing to be cleared in the blast-hit town, where, according to the latest reports, up to 80% of buildings, including residential homes have been destroyed or badly damaged. People who are still alive may have been stranded under the wreckage. A trauma surgeon, Danny Owens, in Waco, has called for speeding up the rescue operation.
"A person may spend several days under the wreckage, depending on their physical condition. I am mostly concerned about patients from the local nursing home. Most of such patients will hardly last long under the debris, so the rescue workers should speed up their work."
The question still remains open about what may have caused the disaster. The main lead that’s being followed up is operating troubles, but the authorities are in no rush to draw the conclusions. This is what the McLennan county Sheriff, Matt Cawthon, told a recent news briefing.
"I can’t say for sure if there are still any tanks with hazardous substances in them that have not yet gone off. We are still unaware of what may have caused the fire. A probe has been launched into the case."
It has transpired meanwhile that the owners of the fertilizer factory had been fined on a regular basis for breaking the rules of safety engineering and dangerous substance transportation. Last year alone, they had to pay 8,000 dollars in fines.
Voice of Russia,