SACRAMENTO, CA - The only thing Darrell Betz can do right now is text.
"I know these texts went out several hours ago and I haven't heard back from anybody," Betz said.
Betz is from West, Texas and all of his family and friends are still there. Betz fell on hard times when he moved to Northern California and is now homeless. His mother's texts through his prepaid cell phone is how he found out almost everyone in his hometown is now homeless too.
"She had been watching it from the back window of the house," Betz said. "There had been no notice of evacuation and all of a sudden the explosion just happened. She said it was like a bomb going off. She felt the house raise up and drop back down onto the ground."
Betz's mother lived just a mile from the plant and survived unharmed. She texted Betz that unfortunately, several of his friends had not.
"I can't give you the names, but I do have the names of seven people confirmed dead," Betz said. "These are all friends of mine."
On the list, Betz said was an EMT and several firefighters. His guess was they were responding to the fire, but Betz fears the death toll is much higher, especially since there were no evacuations before the blast. The fertilizer plant didn't sit far from a middle school, nursing home and apartment complex, which Betz's mother said were all destroyed.
"I know a lot of people that lived in those apartments," Betz said.
Betz has stayed away from the media coverage of the explosion and waits for texts from those who survived. He counts his blessings his immediate family is safe, but waits for word from 30 texts he sent out.