LDS Church members and missionaries in Texas reported safe

Published: Friday, April 19 2013 4:00 p.m. MDT

A massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160, officials said.

LM Otero, Associated Press

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WEST, Texas — Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and LDS missionaries are safe following a massive fertilizer plant explosion, which rocked West, Texas, on Wednesday evening, April 17.

Blake R. Christensen, president of the Waco Texas Stake, said church leaders in the area immediately contacted county emergency response officials and offered assistance after the blast, which killed at least a dozen people and injured more than 160.

The destruction around the West Fertilizer Co. extended for blocks in the small farming community in central Texas. The blast shook the ground with the strength of a small earthquake and destroyed homes, an apartment complex, a school and a nursing home.

One member was impacted by evacuations, said President Christensen, noting that West is part of the Waco Texas Stake.

He said the community has "responded amazingly" and reached out to the victims. "The city has been inundated with commodities," he said.

As soon as the area is cleared for people to enter, President Christensen said local LDS church members will assist with cleanup efforts.

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