WEST, Texas (AP) -- Bare concrete slabs are starting to pop up across West, Texas, weeks after a devastating fertilizer plant explosion.

They re an unmistakable sign of progress in a recovery effort that s only beginning.

The April 17 blast killed 15 people, injured 200 and displaced hundreds of people in the tiny Texas town. With the help of a local Baptist church, work crews are starting in earnest to clear away debris and give residents a clean slate to rebuild.

Town officials and many lifelong residents desperately want to keep people from moving away, but they face many obstacles. They have to rebuild schools and water lines, clear away tons of debris for new homes and reassure residents that their once-tranquil streets will be safe again.

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