HASTINGS, Fla. -- Homeowners in Hastings say the Texas fertilizer plant explosion hits a little too close to home. In their community, there is the Barnes Fertilizers plant. It's right in the middle of a residential area.
The small town of West, Texas was rocked by this powerful explosion -- enough to devastate at least half the city. Hundreds of miles away, in the sleepy town of Hastings, Fla., it could happen here too.
"Sometimes it does make you want to get away," said Kouvaris Davis.
Residents like Davis say there are always fears living this close to the Barnes Fertilizers plant. But after watching the gut-wrenching images of the explosion in Texas, uneasiness has turned more urgent.
"You never know what may happen. It can blow up just as well as it did," he said.
While Hastings is a small town, officials at local emergency operations centers in St. Johns and Putnam counties tell Action News they have hazard plans in place. Jacksonville is about 50 miles away, but their crews are ready, too.
"Jacksonville has one of the finest hazardous-materials teams in the nation in terms of fire department response, and it will go anywhere requested," said Mark Treglio with the Jacksonville firefighters association.
But could Jacksonville rescuers get there fast enough?
"It's not really as much about speed as it is identifying the chemicals that are involved, making sure everybody's safe, the civilians in the surrounding area, very important that they are downwind from the chemicals," Treglio said.
For Davis, he's just hoping his community doesn't ever have to experience it.
"There's always the possibility of something happening when you least expect it. An explosion, a fire, you just never know," Davis said.
Action News spoke with the people at Barnes Fertilizers. They did not want to comment.
Treglio says Jacksonville has several hundred hazardous-materials technicians plus two hazmat teams. We're told they visit all area plants regularly for inspections.