A Dallas Fire-Rescue captain was confirmed dead in the West Fertilizer Co. explosion, according to a statement released by a department spokesperson.
Capt. Kenny Harris was a resident of West. He was not a volunteer firefighter for West but responded when he heard news. Harris, 52, was a father of three grown sons.
In a preliminary count, six firefighters, four emergency responders and one unidentified responder were dead, according to the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshal’s Association of Texas. Forty people remained unaccounted for, according to town officials.
One previously unaccounted firefighter, who also serves as a law-enforcement officer, was found in a hospital with serious injuries.
Sgt. William Patrick Swanton did confirm that there still are firefighters unaccounted for. He was unsure of how many. He described the search process as "slow and methodical," adding that some of the buildings are structurally unsound and must be reinforced before emergency crews can enter.
At 4:15 a.m., West, Texas EMS director Dr. George Smith confirmed the line-of-duty deaths of two paramedics, but their names have not been released.
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