WEST, Texas (KXAN) - Why would you run into an explosion? That is the question Billy and Steffanie Burch have fielded most since last Wednesday's tragedy in West.
"It wasn't something you think about at the time," Steffanie said. "You just do what you have to do."
Married 20 years, the couple moved to West last fall with their 16-year-old son.
"He was supposed to be with friends at the basketball court right next to the fertilizer plant," she said. "He told us he had a headache, so he stayed home. I'm so thankful he did."
The family was sitting in its living room four miles from the plant when they felt the blast. Without hesitation, they hopped in the car and drove straight for the mushroom cloud rising over their town.
"We got to the nursing home right down the street from the plant and stopped," Billy said. "People were running from the building bleeding. I told my son to leave, because he didn't need to see that. So that's when our training took over."
Billy was in the Marine Corps Reserves for six years. Steffanie was in the Air force for 17 years and had nine tours of duty under her belt – the last five years of which were as a nurse.
"Our training really paid off," Billy said. "I was just going room to room, carrying people out. You had wires hanging down. There were light fixtures, some that were still hanging. There was no ceiling. You could hear water leaking in already. You could hear the screams from patients trying to get out."
They rescued 16 people before emergency crews arrived. Some were buried under piles of sheet rock, but they all survived – unlike others closer to the plant.
"Those people that have lost loved ones, I wouldn't want to be in their shoes right now," he said. "I would hate to think that my son was there when that happened, because he would've been one of the ones that might be unaccounted for or deceased. That would have been, that would have been one of hardest things to lose one of my children."
While their house was not damaged, the Burches lost their last home to a fire before they moved from North Carolina. They know what the community of West will face but also that it will eventually get better.
"You just hope for the best at all times," Billy said.
Willie Nelson's nine-hole golf course in Briarcliff is up for sale and the asking price is $3 million, according to a local real estate website.
Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pontiff who won hearts and headlines with his humility and common touch, was named Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013.
When Dawn Erin decided to seek health coverage for the first time in two decades, she was prepared for the red-tape run-around.
Most of the crowd that poured into Austin City Hall on Tuesday night was disappointed with the Parks and Recreation Department's decision to approve a smaller off leash area at Auditorium Shores.
The cold weather tends to bring a bump in cold and flu cases in Central Texas which has a lot of people reaching for over-the-counter drugs. Doctors say to use caution though when picking out those medicines.
Mack Brown's attorney and the university's new athletics director say the Texas coach has not resigned, denying a report that Brown was ready to step down after 16 seasons with the Longhorns.