Man Says He's Lucky to Be Alive After Capturing West Explosion on Camera

Man Says He's Lucky to Be Alive After Capturing West Explosion on Camera

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

WEST, TX - We're getting a closer look at terrifying video from that plant explosion last week. The blast killed 14 people and injured 200 more.

Francisco Rodarte has lived in West, Texas, for the last 27 years.

It's a video he doesn't like to watch even though he shot it.

"I walked down the street and I looked to the north and I saw all the smoke, a big column of smoke," Rodarte said. "I called my son and I said son let's go see what's going on down there, there's a big fire."

Francisco drove towards the West Fertilizer Plant and parked about 150 feet from West High School.

"I got out my phone and started video taping," Francisco said.

Then just three minutes into recording, chaos erupted.

"When I seen the wave, I thought to myself 'that's it, we're gonna die, we're gonna die,'" Rodarte said.

The explosion knocked Francisco off his feet and lifted his truck about a foot and half off the ground.

"When I got up, I see the roof of the middle school up in the air and I seen the flames and everything," he said. "All the debris started falling and nothing happened to us, thank God, thank the good Lord nothing happened to us."

Francisco and his son jumped into their truck and raced home.

"I just got on my knees, I just got on my knees and started praying," he said. "I cried, I cried yeah because I started thinking about all the people on that side of town."

He said he didn't realize how close he was to the blast until the next day.

"I started watching the news and they said the high school got a lot of damage and the roof caved in and I told my wife 'Oh my God, oh my God, we are blessed, we are still alive," Francisco said.

Francisco said he plans on deleting the video eventually but for now it serves as a reminder that he was one of the lucky ones.

"Thank God that other tanks didn't blow up too or I wouldn't be here talking," he said. "We are blessed. It was a miracle."