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Governor Perry declares disaster in McLennan County after West plant explosion

Perry declares disaster in McLennan County after plant explosion

Smoke cloud rises from the West, Texas plant explosion
Andy Bartee/

Just before noon on Thursday, Governor Rick Perry addressed the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion with a press conference held in Austin.

Perry declared McLennan County a disaster area, and stated that an emergency declaration would be coming. "Last night was truly a nightmare scenario for that community," Perry said, as reported by the Dallas Morning News. "This tragedy has most likely hit every family and touched practically everyone in that town."

Governor Perry announced that Texans looking for information about missing family members should dial 211, a help hotline being coordinated by the Red Cross.

Here in Austin, citizens can support the West community by donating blood to the Blood Center of Central Texas and by supplying donations to the Austin Disaster Relief Network. KVUE has more information on how Austin can help its neighbors.

The legislature will be "absolutely supportive" of the West community, said Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst during the press conference.