Cause of Texas Plant Blast Remains Unknown

Memorial for first responders killed in West blast planned for Thursday

By Elvira Sakmari
|  Sunday, Apr 21, 2013  |  Updated 1:06 PM PDT
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Faces of the West Fallen

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The West Fertilizer Company, shown from the air, lies in ruins on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. According to West Mayor Tommy Muska, around 14 people, including 10 first responders, were killed and more than 150 people were injured when the fertilizer company caught fire and exploded, leaving damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Authorities say they still don't know what caused Wednesday night's blast at West Fertilizer Co. in West, Teas. At least 14 people died and more than 200 were injured, and the final report on the tragedy may take months.

Assistant Texas Fire Marshal Kelly Kistner says all fires have been extinguished at the explosion scene and the remaining fertilizer tanks are not a danger.

Kistner said the investigation into the cause of the blast is focused on the center of the explosion, a large crater at the center of the blast area.

West mayor pro tem Steve Vanek said the reentry process is going well and the city is waiting for Atmos gas line testing to clear the scene for phase two of reentry which will be from Walnut to Spring Streets. The third phase will include the area with the most destruction.

Public works and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality are still trying to restore water systems that are still not running in several places around the city. No one under the age of 18 is allowed into secure area for safety and access to the area is still limited to 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. while the curfew remains in effect.

Meanwhile a memorial for first responders is planned for Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Ferrell Center at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

West Mayor Tommy Muska has said that 10 of the 14 who died were first responders, including one Dallas firefighter who was off-duty but responded to help.

First responders from across the state and nation are expected to attend the event.

"We're a family," said Joe Ondrasek with the honor guard. "We feel the loss."

There's no word ifPresident Barack Obama will attend the memorial. The president and first lady are scheduled to attend the opening of former President George W. Bush's presidential library at Southern Methodist University in Dallas on Thursday.

The blast in West has brought international condolences from the United Kingdom, Canada and Russia.

When asked about death toll, Vanek said the county judge would have the answer, he was not present at the Sunday morning news conference. The next news conference is planned for 4 p.m.

NBC 5's Keaton Fox and NBC News contributed to this report.

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