A trip to Austin from Dallas just isn't complete without stopping at the Czech Stop in West, Texas for some delicious kolaches. I look upon that small stop on I35 as a landmark in my Texas landscape. Last night, a fertilizer plant exploded. The destruction is not clearly defined right now, as first responders and emergency crews work on search and rescue in the areas surrounding the plant site. Early estimates are placing the fatalities in the 5-15 range, and many are still missing and unaccounted for.
It's times like this when Texans show their true colors. There were reports last night that they've been overwhelmed already with an outpouring of support and volunteers. As search and rescue is still underway, city officials have asked that people wait until they move to a recovery mode before coming to West to offer their help. If you do want to volunteer, it is best that you contact a disaster relief group and coordinate through them. That doesn't mean there aren't still things that people can do in the meantime.
The best thing we can do is to make sure that the blood banks have enough blood on hand to help the injured in the coming days and weeks, especially with Parkland's burn unit here in Dallas where severe burn patients are being transported to.
Consider donating tomorrow to help those affected by the explosion in West.RT to spread the word. #carterbloodcare— Carter BloodCare (@CarterBloodCare) April 18, 2013
"Tonight our message to our donors is don’t everybody come at once, we will have patients for who knows how long who will be needing blood. Especially O-negative are needed, universal donor, will likely be expended tonight. What we tell people is that the blood helping people tonight is what’s already on the shelves. What we’ll need most is for consistency." -- Linda Goelzer of Carter Blood Care
Carter Blood Care, a partner of the Dallas Stars, has locations all over where you can donate. You can make appointments online as well. So find your nearest location and if you can, donate blood in the coming days and weeks. For more information and to find the center nearest you, visit www.carterbloodcare.org.
If you are looking for information on friends and family members in the area, there is a hotline setup for you to contact: 254.826.4115
The Salvation Army is taking donations for the West, Texas relief effort. Donations can be made online here.
The Dallas Stars will be accepting monetary donations for the West, Texas relief effort at tonight's game:
We plan to resume our usual Dallas Stars coverage later today, but want to keep these morning hours as a time to direct our energy towards helping out our fellow Texans.