14 victims of West explosion still hospitalized

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Perry Calvin, 37. Student at Hill College Fire Academy. Member of Mertens and Navarro Mills volunteer fire departments.

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Posted: Monday, April 22, 2013 8:26 pm

The number of people who remain hospitalized after last week’s explosion at a West fertilizer plant continued to drop Monday, while the names of two people who died at a nearby apartment complex were 

Of the more than 200 people injured by the blast, only 
14 were still at area hospitals as of Monday afternoon, according to counts from hospital officials. Two remain in serious condition, but the rest are expected to be well enough to be discharged by the end of the week.

Those figures provided a dose of good news as the town of West prepared for the string of funerals for 14 people who died in Wednesday’s blast. The services stretch into next week.

One funeral service was held Sunday, for a 96-year-old man who lived at a nursing home located near the plant. Though he died within a few hours of being evacuated, he has not been included in previous lists of the dead, prompting some in West to call him the 15th victim.

Government officials have not officially released the identities of all of the fatalities from the explosion. But notices from funeral homes Monday revealed more names.

Both Mariano C. Saldivar, 57, and Judith Monroe, 65, lived at an apartment complex near West Fertilizer Co. that was destroyed by the explosion. An online database of public records shows the two lived near each other, in units 109 and 106, respectively.

Saldivar was born in Mexico and later moved to California to work in the warehousing industry, according to his obituary from OakCrest Funeral Home in Waco.

He retired five years ago and moved to West to be near his family. He was married and has three children, the notice says.

Aderhold Funeral Home in West, which is handling Monroe’s burial, had limited information about her Monday.

Another recently confirmed victim is Kevin Sanders, 33. His family revealed late Sunday that the veterinary technician, who was also an emergency medical technician, was killed in the explosion after he responded to the preceding fire at the plant.

In a Facebook post Monday, local veterinarian Jered Johnston asked people to keep Sanders’ wife and young child in their prayers. Sanders worked at Hewitt Veterinary Hospital and the Waco Animal Emergency Clinic and was also an adjunct instructor at McLennan Community College.

“I had the privilege of working many overnight shifts with Kevin at the emergency clinic and we have lost a true hero,” Johnston wrote. “He was such a wonderful, kind and intelligent man.”

Details about the deaths of two people who lived at West Rest Haven nursing home also emerged Monday. Adolph H. Lander, 96, died within hours of the blast, his daughter Lanet Klanika said.

Based on information she got from people who helped evacuate the nursing home and treat the injured, she said, she thinks he suffered broken bones in connection with the incident.

Klanika said she was told her father was alive when the nursing home was evacuated. He was taken to a school football field, where victims were triaged, and then later to a community center where victims were cared for. It was at the community center that he died, she said she was told.

The family is waiting for the results of an autopsy performed on Lander’s remains, Klanika said. Funeral services for him were held Sunday. The Central Texas native was a World War II veteran and worked as a farmer before retiring.

Another resident of the nursing home, 87-year-old Tony Lenart, also is dead in the wake of the tragedy. But his family doesn’t think the incident played a direct role in his death.

Lenart was evacuated from the nursing home shortly after the fire was detected, said son-in-law Rae Carter of Waco.

He soon was taken to another local nursing home, Carter said. But he later had to be admitted to a local hospital and died Sunday. His death does not appear to have been directly caused by the incident, his son-in-law said.

Most of the others taken to the hospital in the wake of the fire and explosion have been released.

Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco treated about 90 people with injuries, admitting 28 of them.

As of Monday afternoon, seven remained at the hospital and all were in stable condition, spokesman Adam Price said.

Providence Health Center treated 87 injured patients in all, admitting 21 of them. By Monday afternoon, all but one of the patients had been discharged, said spokeswoman Heather Beck.

Scott & White Healthcare, meanwhile, on Monday continued to care for two adults and two children injured in the explosion, a spokesman said.

All are in fair condition. The Temple-based hospital system received a total of five patients from the blast area. Two other explosion victims remain at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. A spokeswoman said they were the only two people sent there and that both are in serious condition. She declined to detail the nature of their injuries.

The most common type of injury treated by the three Central Texas hospitals was lacerations, doctors said. Some were relatively minor. Others were serious. At Scott & White, for example, physicians treated deep neck lacerations and penetrating chest wounds caused by shrapnel from the blast, said trauma director Dr. Matthew Davis. Some patients had so many cuts to their face they required complex reconstructive surgery, he said.

“They were too numerous to count,” Davis said of the lacerations.

Scott & White physicians in Temple also treated an eyeball injury and a case of traumatic brain injury, he said. The latter could have been caused by the concussive force of the blast. Such an injury also can be caused by someone being thrown into a wall or being hit by a collapsed wall, he said.

At Providence, physicians treated people who suffered lacerations from being hit by flying glass and other debris, knocked to the ground or injured by collapsing walls or ceilings, said Dr. Jon Daniell, medical director of the hospital’s emergency department. In addition, the hospital saw a number of people with respiratory problems caused by chemicals involved in the blast, Daniell said.

A few had breathing difficulties severe enough they were initially classified as critical, he said.

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