The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) approved additional funding Friday to help rebuild a central Texas town where an April fertilizer plant explosion killed 15 people and leveled homes and schools.
FEMA initially denied Texas' application for major disaster funding, preventing the town from accessing widespread assistance money typically available to victims of tornadoes, hurricanes and other natural disasters, the website of the Houston Chronicle said.
FEMA reversed its decision and approved the additional funding. State Governor Rick Perry welcomed the move in a statement Friday calling the reversal "great and welcome news for the people of West."
The White House said in a statement Friday that President Barack Obama "declared a major disaster exists in the State of Texas and ordered Federal aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by an explosion during the period of April 17-20, 2013."
Federal funding is available to "state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost- sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged," the statement said.
It was unclear how much the additional funding would be. Reports said FEMA has already provided millions of dollars in aid to West and its residents. The blast, ignited by a fire at the plant on April 17, killed 15 people and wounded over 200 others. It was one of the most tragic accidents in Texas in recent years.