NEW VIDEO: West explosion shows power of blast

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by DAVID SCHECHTER

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

WFAA

Posted on April 16, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 17 at 10:35 AM

NEWS 8 EXCLUSIVE

WEST, Texas — News 8 has obtained an exclusive new video of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West that illustrates just how powerful it was. 

The images, taken by a father and son, give a clearer picture of the giant shock wave released by the explosion.

“I just happened to throw it up at about that time,” said Jeff Tobola, who shot the video with only a moment to spare.

He’s kept it private until now.

“You almost felt it," he said. "It was almost like electricity in the air because you actually saw it before  it actually happened."

Son Mason was with him in the front seat.

“When it exploded, you could see the wave of the energy of the explosion actually like in slow motion... like in a movie," said Mason Tobola.

News 8 shared the video with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to get an explanation of what can be seen in the video. Citing an ongoing criminal investigation, the ATF declined to comment, but said it is reviewing Tobola’s video to help them determine the cause of the fire, which is still unknown.

However, Lt. C.T. Payne with the Garland Bomb Squad did review the video for News 8. It shows the entire ignition took only two frames of the footage — a fraction of a second.

“The first thing you’re seeing is the light from the blast itself,” Payne said.

Payne added the white cloud rising from the blast is a cloud of gas. Around it is what Payne says is the massive shock wave.

“What you’re seeing is as it’s coming off of it, that’s the shock wave that’s pushing out at the same time,” he said.

Which is exactly what Tobola felt.

“You felt that wave of energy just right through you," he said. "There’s no doubt you felt that."

It's a feeling that a year later — or even a decade — he’ll never forget.

E-mail dschechter@wfaa.com
 

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