together you answered the call. you dropped your schoolwork, left your families, jumped in
. and rushed to the flames. and when you got to the scene, you forgot fear and you fought that blaze as hard as you could, knowing the danger, buying time so others could escape. and then about
after the first alarm, the earth shook, and the sky went dark. and west changed forever.
for the 12 firefighters and first responders who were killed in a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in west,
. a total of 14 people died in that blast. the president and mrs. obama met privately with the families after the service, which featured video eulogies and a reminder of what was really lost.
our son, jerry chapman, was born
words cannot express how much i'm going to miss my husband.
i'm representing my dad, captain kenneth harris.
i'm the wife of the
, morris ridges jr. this is his 2-year-old son jamison bridges.
i'm honored to have the opportunity to tell you about my brother, cyrus. and the amazing life he shined.
was a husband, a father, a son, a grandson, a brother, an uncle and a cousin, a nephew, a co-worker and a neighbor, and a friend.
federal and state investigators have not yet determined what started the fire which ignited the blast. records show the fertilizer plant had 540,000 pounds of
than terrorist bomber
used 18 years ago to blow up a
. the blast was powerful enough to register as an earthquake and blew a crater 93 feet wide and
deep. it leveled the fertilizer plant and homes within a five-block radius. this is what that blast did to a nearby apartment complex. and to a
. and to a children's playground. and to the local school. in january, bp pleaded guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter for the deaths of 11 men who were killed in the explosion on the deepwater horizon rig in the
gulf of mexico
in april of
. the company was sentenced, and a $4 billion fine and five years of probation was handed down. two of the rig supervisors have been charged and are awaiting trial for manslaughter, accused of disregarding abnormal
, one of the benefits of a regulated economy, regulated workplace,
, is that we have -- if those regulations are followed, virtually eliminated the deadly
. and to have this plant explode like this, not having been inspected in many years, the first place you have to go is where were the regulators.
yeah. and the word "regulation" in this society is almost a four-letter word. that -- the unwinding of regulation in the workplace had a lot to do with the
, lawrence. we celebrated the man's presidency today at the opening of his
. but if you look at what happened to
, which is the organization that oversees workplace hazards and really has the -- an eye out for the american worker, 86% -- i believe 86% fewer regulations were issued under bush. the man he appointed to head
literally fell asleep on the job multiple times while he headed
. the notion of regulation became a very bad thing under bush. and unfortunately, the story of what happened in west,
is a story of what's happening to the american worker. who is now forced -- it's not just indignities, these are substandard wages they are making, these are highly hazardous conditions in many areas. i mean, and it's not just bp. this is the -- the workers in bangladesh who died in a
clothes for walmart. this is happening around the world. and it has to do with the way we treat the american worker and what we have done to unwind the safety mechanisms that are supposed to protect the american worker.
so after this explosion, after these fatalities in this workplace, the governor of
goes to chicago to lure business to
. let's listen to what he says.
all businesses have to look at their bottom line. taxes, regulation, legal system,
. that's what government does. government can either be a hurdle or government can kind of smooth out the road. we think in
we've smoothed that road out about as good as anybody.
is very proud of smoothing out that road.
yeah. and you have got to ask yourself as governor, elected by the people in
, are you representing business interests? because that's one measure of his success. he brags about how many businesses he has pulled out of other states and therefore created those jobs, even though he pulled them out of another state. that's one measure of him. another measure is are your citizens, are your voters safe when they go to work. do they come home at the
end of the day
. are the
. isn't that the heart of a place, like west,
? so it's a very narrow view that
has, what his job is. and i -- that is written large for republicans, i'm afraid, at the national level too. if their job is just to please the
chamber of commerce
, and that's just the national
chamber of commerce
, then they're doing a great, great job. but actually, maybe they also have responsibilities to voters who want
that's affordable, who actually can buy the guns or whatever they want to do, and then vote for republicans. there are republicans who want to be safe when they're out fighting fires.
, i can only hope there is as much investigative energy of this case in
as there is in
for the tragedy that occurred there. there's a correct amount of investigative
brought to that. but these industrial cases are, first of all, treated as accidents instead of very suspicious possible manslaughter cases.
yeah. i mean, you look at the -- what happened in
was horrible. but lawrence, i think it's so right you're calling attention to this. because this week this story has been subsumeded by details from
. and an important story, but this is an important story. and this is an important story, because the long-range consequences here are fairly significant. for not just the
, but who we are as a country and the way we treat each other. i think it is worth noting, another part of this is
. and the administration has got to get on board.
is so underfunded, they last inspected this fertilizer plant in the
. at present,
has so little funding, they can only look into one of these plants every 126 years. it's a joke. we have got to change the way we regulate.
and lives are at stake in this case.
, thank you both for joining me tonight.