Memorial in West dedicated to 15 killed in fertilizer plant explosion

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A new memorial dedicated to the first responders who died in a 2013 fertilizer plant fire and explosion in West was unveiled in the Central Texas town Saturday morning.

Hundreds of people attended the ceremonies to dedicate the City of West Fallen Heroes Memorial, located in Parker's Park in the town about 65 miles south of Dallas.

Architect and former West resident Kurt Vrbas designed the memorial featuring a reflecting pool and plaques.

Work began in 2017 on the memorial, located about 100 yards from where the plant erupted in fire. Donations helped cover the cost of the $300,000 project.

Inclement weather forced organizers indoors - to the West High School auditorium - to honor and remember 15 people killed in a 2013 fertilizer plant fire and explosion.

The unveiling of the memorial was done on video.

"They were friends, husbands, wives, sons, brothers. This memorial will allow you to know their passion, their love of community, their love of life. They're passing still leaves a large hole in this community, in our hearts," said Tommy Muska, mayor of West.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said he's proud of everyone who worked to make West "better than it's ever been" after the April 17, 2013, blast at the West Fertilizer Co. plant.

"West, Texas, was broken that day, but you, by God, you remain unbowed in your belief of what West could be and what this community will eventually evolve into," Abbott said.

The memorial project was led by West resident Joe Pustejovsky, whose son, Joey, was a member of the West Volunteer Fire Department and one of the 15 people who died.

"Never hung our heads down, 'Oh woe is me, or why me?' or anything like that. Let's pull together, let's get it together and go on. And, that's what we've tried to do," Pustejovsky said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.