West, Texas Native Shares Family's Survival Story (VIDEO)

By Corinne Rose

April 25, 2013 Updated Apr 26, 2013 at 9:28 AM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) -- A woman living in Leo grew up in West, Texas and knows some of the first responders killed in that fertilizer plant explosion who were memorialized Thursday.

"There's prominent men in the community that put their lives on the line as volunteer firemen that were there and didn't think twice about what they were doing. And they're friends of his. And I did know four or five of those men, as well," Joanie Crain says.

Crain's brother was not hurt, but lost his home in the fertilizer plant explosion. And he had to go right back to work as an insurance agent in the small town.

"Basically a very sad man. Physically he's okay, but like I said, you know, not sure what all's going around in his head," Crain says.

Their mother-in-law had been trapped in her nursing home, when three high schoolers went room to room, searching for survivors.

"So they actually picked her up and got her out of there to safety. And I don't know who those boys are yet. And when I do find out, I will be heavily thanking them," Crain says.

Crain's friends in West tell her the town she knew is gone.

"Basically they're describing it as Ground Zero, or they feel like they're filming a disaster movie or something. They just tell me, you just can't believe it. You don't recognize anything. It's just a very surreal situation," Crain says.

Crain's proud her small community is rallying to rebuild one day at a time.

"There's been no complaining about where's FEMA's help, where is, you know, any other type of federal help or anything. It's just, people just got to work they were helping each other, so there's been no complaints about that kind of stuff. So that's awesome," Crain says.

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