Been following and tweeting #WestExplosion news all day, which is mostly grim stuff, but still uplifting at times — as Mr. Rogers always said, we should look for the helpers in situations like these, advice that’s as good for children as adults.
I live in Austin, but I’m familiar with West not so much as a city but a place you pass through. It’s population is small — under 3,000 I believe — but most of us who’ve spent time in Texas have passed through on our way to and from the Dallas metroplex. And if we’ve passed through, and we have any bit of sense, we’ve stopped at the Czech Stop, arguably the best of the many kolache places that are scattered throughout central Texas. It’s hard to overstate how much Czech Stop is an institution — it was probably the first thing most Texans thought of when they heard about the explosion.
In the most uplifting story from the West disaster, Mother Jones wrote today about how Czech Stop has become a place of comfort for the many suffering citizens, remaining open despite a buckling roof:
When the plant exploded at 8 p.m., there were about seven employees on shift. Fifteen minutes later, fire trucks and police cars started rushing down the street to the site of the accident. Not long after, injured victims started walked in.
“Two women in a truck stopped by. One’s leg was bandaged and bulging, and she had a few cuts on her arms and legs,” says Schissler. “I don’t know why they decided to stop here first. When you’re in shock, you’re not always thinking. We did whatever we could to make them feel comfortable, gave them ice water.” Several more people with cuts and bruises stopped by through the night, but Schissler said her usual customers were missing. “All the bakery regulars were out there on the scene, helping out.”
In the morning, Czech Stop was ready to help first responders who stopped by, donating cases of water and handing out free food and drink. The store is also planning on donating baked goods to the Red Cross.
A Jalopnik writer from Texas says when he first heard about the West Fertilizer explosion, his first thought was whether anyone was hurt. His second thought was whether the Czech Stop was ok. “It’s no surprise that, when I turned on the local news last night, the news producers had thought to call the Czech Stop and put an employee on the air,” he wrote. “It’s what everyone knows.”
Tonight’s music is Pat Metheny noodling on his amazing, if ridiculous 42-string guitar. Yeah I totally stole this video from a Cracked.com article.
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