Authorities recovered Friday the bodies of 13 people who were killed in a fertilizer plant explosion that rocked the town of West, Texas, earlier this week.
Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes confirmed “with a heavy heart” that 12 bodies had been excavated from the plant, Fox News reported. Tommy Muska, the town’s mayor, later confirmed a 13th death, according to ABC News.
The identities of the victims haven’t been released, but it’s believed that the first responders and firefighters who rushed to the scene of the explosion are among them, Fox News reported.
The announcement came as local church services were kicking off mourning services for the victims and their families. The community is small, with only about 2,800 residents, and the fatal explosion touched the entire town.
“We know everyone that was there first, in the beginning,” said Christina Rodarte, 46, in the Fox News report. “There’s no words for it. It is a small community and everyone knows the first responders, because anytime there’s anything going on, the fire department is right there, all volunteer.”
More than 200 were injured in the explosion. Police initially believed between 5 and 15 were killed.