ARLINGTON -- Boxes filled with bottled water, diapers, canned goods and other relief supplies lined the center-field entryway at Rangers Ballpark on Tuesday morning.Texas Rangers employees, players' wives and former outfielder Kevin Mench loaded a truck with the donations for West, devastated by an explosion at a fertilizer plant last week.Fans and the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation also donated thousands of dollars in gift cards and $40,000 in cash. Mench's wife, Shana, is from the area and still has family there. She is the sister of big-leaguer Scott Podsednik, arguably the town's most famous son."It's a close-knit community. Everybody knows everybody down there," Kevin Mench said. "If anybody has driven through there, they've stopped at The Czech Stop for kolaches. ... It's its own little community, but at the same time it's a big part of Texas itself."Mench said his in-laws were not directly affected by the explosion but certainly felt it, comparing it to a "plane crash.""They were downtown 20 minutes before that, and the plant isn't too far from downtown," he said. "Everybody there has rallied around and is helping the community get back on its feet."The explosion April 17 at West Fertilizer Co. killed 15 people, injured more than 200, and destroyed dozens of houses, an apartment complex and a nursing home.Jordan Gentry, wife of outfielder Craig Gentry, was one of three Rangers wives who helped load the truck, which departed for the West Fairgrounds around noon."I think it's a part of the players' jobs because people look up to them and they're always in the spotlight, so they need to set an example," Jordan Gentry said. "I'm just here to support Craig and help however I can."If we don't help each other in times such as this, who will?"
First lawsuits are filed
Two lawsuits have been filed in McLennan County court against Adair Grain, which does business as West Fertilizer Co. The first was filed Friday on behalf of insurance carriers that represent property owners and businesses, including stores, service companies, a car dealership, an inn and two churches. The second was filed Monday for Andrea J. Gutierrez, a single mother who lived with a teenage son at the apartment complex that was gutted by the blast. Company officials declined to comment.