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Blast in West Reminds Firefighters of the Dangers They Face On The Job

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Josh Navarro
NewsWest 9 

ODESSA- The explosion in West, Texas, is a reminder of the danger firefighters face while battling a blaze, whether it is big or small. 

The American flag currently is at half staff at the Odessa Fire Department. They're showing support for those lives lost during that tragic event in West, Texas, last week. Their jobs are vital and crucial during emergency situations.

"Just rough when you see or hear about people in the same line of work you do get injured or killed and they had families," Battalion Chief, Pat Land, said. 

Land says what happened at the fertilizer plant was essentially a major hazardous materials incident. Something on which firefighters must be well educated.

"Unfortunately, it was involving fire and that always makes a hazardous incident much more difficult to deal with and you start having mixtures from products and different products require different extinguishing agents, sometimes those conflict with one another. So it makes it more difficult to get it under control," Land said. 

Even though the Odessa Fire Department is much larger than the one in West, Texas, Land can only imagine what his fellow firefighters were facing there as they fought the violent flames from that plant.

"In my mind, they probably went into that thinking they could at least get it under control or maybe even buy some time. Because the way I understand it, they were evacuating nearby structures and doing what we would do," Land said. 

A job description where they're the first in the line of fire but they too have to look out for each other. 

"I mean we try to use extreme caution when we approach any incident because the potential for things like that are always there," Land said. 

The fire department says their prayers and condolences are going out to the families affected by the blast.