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Oklahoma baseball: Explosion in West, Texas, stuns OU's Kolbey Carpenter

Kolbey Carpenter's family moved to West, Texas, when he was 13 years old. Among those killed in last week's fertilizer plant fire were two Carpenter family friends.
by Jason Kersey Published: April 25, 2013

Donations — clothes, supplies, everything — poured into the small town, which set up a base at West's fairgrounds.

“It was one of the most unique experiences I've been a part of,” Carpenter said. “There were so many people there, and so many people donating and helping with the relief. Everyone coming together and trying to help out the families as best they can.”

Oklahoma coach Sunny Golloway was fully supportive when Carpenter said he needed to go home. The first baseman, who has started 34 games this season as a true freshman, missed the Sooners' three-game series last weekend against New Orleans.

“I just did anything and everything I could to make it easier on him,” Golloway said. “When he got down there, I told him to be prepared, because, small community, you're surely gonna find out more. We were supportive, but I think anybody in the country would've been supportive. Our job is just to try to help a young man. ... But I couldn't say or do anything to prepare him for what he was gonna see.”

Monday night, Carpenter chose to return to Norman. He said his friend, Heath Harris, is “being really strong” while coping with his father's death.

The entire town is still trying to cope with the explosion, and Carpenter acknowledged the recovery won't be easy.

“I really just think everyone doesn't know what to do right now, just because there's so much damage,” Carpenter said. “It's going to take so much to rebuild and so long to rebuild everything. Everyone's not really used to having everyone in town like that, with it being such a small close-knit community. There is so many people from other places there. It's kind of not normal right now.”

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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