West explosion hits home with Texoma man

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GAINESVILLE, TX -- The explosion is hitting close to home for one Gainesville man, who spent most of his life in the town of West and still has family members there.

Billy Roessler grew up on a farm in West, Texas. He and his siblings went to school there and much of his family still calls the town home. That's why when he heard the news of the explosion hundreds of miles away, his heart sank.

Wednesday evening this explosion rocked the tight knit community of West, Texas.

"I had just gotten home for a little bit at my house here in Gainesville and I had a text that said, you know, 'is your family OK?'" Roessler said.

Billy Roessler, a Gainesville resident and West, Texas native, says he knew storms were supposed to come through that night. But he says when he turned on the TV, he was caught off guard.

"Within five minutes I had three, four phone calls and other texts and other people trying to ask me the same thing," he recalls.

Roessler's parents and many other family members still call West home. He says he was able to contact his immediate family members fairly quickly and they are OK. But one of his distant relatives was killed.

"We know there are a number of people unaccounted for so authorities are going to the hospitals so they know where people are." Sen. Jon Cornyn said during a news conference.

As investigators continue to search for the more than 60 people who are still unaccounted for, Roessler says sadl he expects he'll know many of those people.

"As time goes on, think of more and more people and think 'oh that person lived near there. What about John? What about Kevin?' And so, as time goes on you're thinking of more and more people that are getting impacted."

For Roessler, the West fertilizer plant was very much a part of his childhood.

"Cause my dad is a farmer so we took some grain there, we've sold grain there. We also bought fertilizer, bought seed there so we had done business with the company for say all my life so to speak," he said.

He says he had no idea what was right in resident's backyards was capable of causing this much devastation. But he says the people of West are strong and resiliant, and will pull through this tragedy.

"It's going to be a rough few days and it's not going to be over in a week or two, it's going to be a long rebuilding process. But I'm confident they'll pull together," Roessler said.

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