Girl who lost her hearing after West fertilizer plant exploded is now okay

The Today Show tracked down the Texas father who shot that now iconic video of the West fertilizer plant explosion — the one where you can hear his daughter screaming and pleading with him to leave after the explosion happens. Derrick Hurtt and his family were within 300 yards of the factory when it went up. They were there specifically to shoot some video of the burning plant. Hurtt's 12-year-old daughter, who says after the explosion that she can't hear anything, has regained her hearing.


    1. I think that’s a bit of an unfair accusation – from the video, it seemed like a safe distance at which to observe a fire.

      One simply doesn’t expect a monstrous shitstorm conflagration.

      1.  You think that seems like a safe distance to observe a fire at a chemical plant?  Given the fact that you should be concerned about breathing gases, fumes, smoke, and dust, in addition to the risk of explosion, I’d say a safe distance would be no closer than 5 miles.  10 sounds even better.

        1.  There was a report that the family in that video believed the Middle School was on fire (it was within 500 feet of the plant).

          1. Maybe, but is it really good parenting to take children near any large building that’s on fire?


      2.  I’m reminded of all the people who watched the fire in the Halifax harbor in 1917, not realizing that the burning ship was loaded with explosives.  People watched the spectacular fire through their windows.  Most of the injuries, including quite a few serious eye injuries, were from broken glass.  A similar scenario played out much more recently in Chelyabinsk; I think most of the injuries there were also from broken glass, with people having been drawn to the windows by the bright light in the sky.

      3. I’m pretty sure that chemical plants roll against a different encounter table than most other buildings when they catch fire…

  1. Boston victims talked of losing hearing too. It reminds me of the incredibly effective early scene in the amazing Russian WWII film “Come and See” where bombs are dropping in a forest and quickly the boy covers his ears in pain, then the film’s sound is muted/cut out and you’re suddenly in his shoes.

    1.  I recall other war movies (and games) pulling a similar trick, either killing the sound or putting a weak “beep” in its place soon after a nearby explosion. This in particular if the camera is supposed to be a soldiers view of the fight.

  2. Thanks for posting this update! I saw the video right before I went to bed last night, and spent all of today worrying about that poor kid.

  3. ^that cowicide person is a real dick hole, leave it to some ignorant moron to make a comment about the parenting, you don’t know the guy and you’ve never met him, who are you to make assumptions about his parenting. people who live in cities like new york breath in all kinds of pollution every day. so are you saying parents who raise their kids in LA are bad parents?? 

  4. mind your own business, you could say something like, wow, i’m glad they’re okay and the girl got her hearing back, but noooooooo you gotta go raising eyebrows at the “parenting skills” you make me sick, you too diogenes

  5. I’m glad she regained her hearing, but I highly doubt she still has the entire audible range intact.

  6. Yea, i’d bet she probably has the hearing range of a 25 or 30 year old now.  As for ‘parenting skills’ when you live around something like that plant for years and years, its just there.  You dont think about it being a dangerous thing really.   

    Obviously about the time it blew up he had a reality check, but long term familiarity of sometimes rather dangerous things decreases or even turns off the mental danger alarms in our heads.  

  7. ” They were there specifically to shoot some video of the burning plant”.  That kind of got my hackles up, but from what I gather, they were passing by and stopped to take some video.  A bit less crappy than if the guy had dragged his daughters down that road JUST to shoot video. 

  8. wow, delete my comment? what happened to freedom of speech in this country? apparently i’m not allowed to voice my opinion like everyone else here? once again, its not a question of parenting, he got an excellent video, passing through obviously, he definitely didn’t load up his kids and say “hey this building is about to explode and it will be horrific and you will go deaf, lets go get almost killed!” seriously people, with cameras on almost every phone these days people are most likely gonna pull over and take video of events like this, who would blame him? as soon as it blew he dropped the phone and attempted to get his daughter and himself out of there. moron.

  9. Why on earth would anyone want to watch something like that in person?  Why not go inside, make some pop corn, and turn on the news like the rest of us?..  Oh, wait.  That’s.  Just as bad.  Uh… Ahem.  Uh, carry on.

  10. Man, a lot of Monday-morning parenting going on here. I’m assuming a lot of you have never had the opportunity to witness a big-ass fire before. I can assure you people will absolutely stop and watch a big fire, and maybe even take the kids. Heck, if it’s nearby, the kids will probably beg you to take them to watch. And, in this day and age, the idea of shooting a video and posting it somewhere seems to be second-nature.

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