WEST, Texas — It started as just a fire. But 911 calls following the Texas fertilizer plant explosion show it took only minutes for dispatchers to become swamped in calls from terrified and hysterical residents.
Nearly all 50 calls that flooded in during the next 35 minutes came from within a mile of the plant. Some knew what happened. Others relayed a terror of the unknown, saying only that windows had suddenly shattered and houses several blocks from the site were on fire.
Some pleaded for help for themselves or others they found injured or bleeding. Others sought reassurance. Still others offered up their own assistance.
In the end, firefighters and EMTs would account for 10 of 14 people killed, and more than 200 people in the town of 2,800 were injured.
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