FARMERS BRANCH, Texas (4/19/13)--The Texas Credit Union Foundation (TCUF) is ready to help credit unions and their employees impacted by Wednesday night's explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West. And a credit union in nearby Waco has begun accepting donations for the American Red Cross to assist victims.
GENCO FCU, one of 16 credit unions in Waco, which is about 20 miles from West, said on its website it is accepting donations at all of its branches for the citizens of West. The $238 million asset credit union established an account for the American Red Cross for monetary donations. It is also asking those with nonmonetary donations to drop the items off at branches in Lorena, Lacy Lakeview, Valley Mills Drive, and Woodway.
TCUF is assessing the situation to determine the scope of damage--if any--that credit unions and their staff might have experienced. If it is determined that the damage is widespread, TCUF will activate its disaster relief fund.
"In times of crisis, the foundation is here to help our credit unions and their staff get back on their feet so that they in turn can be there for their members," said TCUF Executive Director Courtney Moran Thursday.
"Already I received countless e-mails and phone calls from credit unions across the state wanting to know how they can help," said Moran. "It's so gratifying to know that we serve in a movement where people really care about each other."
According to news reports, a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant devastated West, north of Waco, causing multiple casualties and leaving people trapped and buildings on fire. Officials have said more than 160 people had been treated for injuries at various hospitals. The number of dead was still unconfirmed as of News Now's press deadline. Emergency personnel continued to search for survivors Thursday from the explosion.
West is a town of 2,800 people, according to the Waco Tribune (April 18). Gov. Rick Perry declared McLennan County a disaster area, saying that the tragedy has hit about every family in the town. Seventy homes were damaged, as well as a number of businesses. The blast was felt 50 miles away, said CNN.
TCUF said it will notify credit unions if its disaster relief fund is activated.