This horrifying photo has popped up all over the place today: behind a Sonic, a cloud of smoke rises from an explosion last night at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. (Note the comma, West is a town that is somewhat central, located on I-35 between Dallas and Austin.) According to the Austin American-Statesman, the explosion may have killed as many as 15 people, and injured over 150. Governor Rick Perry has called a state of emergency. And to the right of the photo, you can see the "CZEC" of Czech Stop.
Czech Stop is home to a somewhat legendary version of the beloved Tex-Czech kolache, and it's why many Texans are familiar with West, a required road trip stop between Austin and Dallas. Mother Jones reports the bakery stayed open through the night, serving emergency responders and others in the wake of the tragedy. And they intend to continue doing so as needed.
According to Czech Stop president Barbara Schissler, all they did was cut the gas lines in case of an additional explosions, and kept on slinging pastries and donating food and beverages to the Red Cross. Czech Stop hasn't closed for a day in the 29 years since it opened, and, says Schissler, "You bet we're staying open." For other ways restaurants and bars in Central Texas are aiding the West, Texas relief effort, check out Eater Austin's updated list of benefits and fundraisers.
· Official: "You can't imagine the devastation" [Statesman]
· West, Texas Czech Bakery Kept the Kolaches Coming [MoJo]
· Central Texas Food Community Rallies For West (Updated!) [Eater Austin]
· All Texas Coverage on Eater [-E-]