The Shell Game

Number 26123
Subject Fire Departments
Source KXAS-TV (Dallas)
State Texas
Year 2013
Publication Date May 13, 2013
Summary On April 24, 2013, a fertilizer plant exploded in West, Texas, killing 15 people, destroying scores of homes, and leaving a 93-foot deep crater at the blast site. Among the dead were 10 first responders, including five members of the small West Volunteer Fire Department which protects the town of 2,800 on a budget of about $10,000 a year. Within hours of the blast our investigative team pinpointed state records showing how the Texas State Legislature has denied rural volunteer fire departments access to millions of dollars in tax revenue that was collected specifically to help those departments better train and equip for disasters. Our investigation would eventually find that the West Volunteer Fire Department was among the hundreds of departments asking for help from the state but unable to receive it because of a giant shell game run by lawmakers in Austin.
Category Contest Entry
Keywords explosion; deaths; public records; fire department; government
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