Just over three weeks has passed since the February 18 explosion. Amazing progress is being made in the clean up of all the charred remains of the fire. I drive by the refinery every day as I go into Big Spring and every day there is less evidence of the disaster than the day before.
Everyone has gone back to their daily routines. Some have repairs to their homes and businesses that have been completed or are in the progress of being completed. The person who was most seriously injured in the blast is now home with his family to finish recovering.
Yes. It appears that Big Spring has returned to normalcy. However, I think Big Spring has forever been changed. Our world was rocked that day and what was once normal for us will never again return.
Though my husband and I did not exerience the explosion because we were both out of town, those who did still share vivid memories of the feel of the rumbling under the ground before and after the explosion, and the sound explosion which made them think “a plane must have crashed—in my house”. Our world was physically rocked and we will never be the same.
Almost two weeks after the explosion, I left town to go on a short road trip to Abilene. I had been busy all day with various tasks and had not given much thought to the refinery. As I drove east on I-20, I began to feel something. It is very hard to put my feelings that day into words. It was a type of heaviness, worry, longing to go back home just to be sure that everything is all right. I knew in my head that everything was fine at home and in Big Spring. However, my heart was still reeling from the emotions that came from the explosion. I know that others, especially refinery workers, first responders, and their families are dealing with similar and probably much more intense emotions.
When the refinery is reconstructed to the point that production can be resumed, I am sure the people of Big Spring, will be collectively holding their breath, concerned that another explosion could happen. I believe we will always have a small seed of worry about the safety of the refinery even though we know that all safety precautions are being taken at the plant. Don’t misunderstand me, as a community we are very supportive of Alon, and the people who work there are our friends, neighbors, and family. But on February 18, 2008, our emotional world was rocked and we will never be the same.
There were many things that went right that day. Things that only God could have done. There were no lives lost at all. Not during the initial blast nor during the time the firefighters put their lives on the line to extinguish the fire. There was no wind that day, even though high wind had been in the weather forcast. The explosion happened on President’s Day, when there was little or no office staff in a building that received heavy damage. The traffic on the interstate was also light that morning, due to the holiday, resultling in only one injury. God’s protective grace was evident to everyone that day. Our world was spiritually rocked and we will never be the same.
Yes. On February 18, 2008, Big Spring, Texas, received a miracle from God, and we will never be the same.