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From Serious To Silly To Sweet, North Texas Featured In 2013’s Top YouTube Videos

A frame from the viral video showing April's explosion in West, Texas.

When it comes to the year’s top YouTube videos, North Texas made its mark.

On the list of top trending news videos, a dramatic video of the fiery fertilizer plant explosion in West ranked No. 3. The video shows the plant already on fire – and then, all of a sudden, a fireball filled the sky and a loud boom rocked the rural town between Dallas and Waco.

And YouTube Rewind 2013 features Dallas bar mitzvah star Sam Horowitz and Denton's Laina Morris, aka the Overly Attached Girlfriend. The video, which was released last week, includes some of the year's top YouTube video stars.

The West fertilizer plant explosion

More than 23 million people have seen the West explosion video on YouTube:

The April explosion killed 15 people, 12 of them first responders. The explosion was strong enough that it was recorded as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Derrick Hurtt shot the video. He was heading home with his 12-year-old daughter, Chloe, when they saw the fire.

“I thought, ‘Well, I'll go ahead and I'll video the structure collapsing,’” Hurtt told NPR. “'And then, we'll go ahead on home.'”

But just 30 seconds into the video, the West Fertilizer Co. plant exploded. The blast lifted Hurtt's truck off the ground. Hurtt was thrown on top of his daughter and she began to scream.

“I can’t hear,” Chloe said in the video.

She ended up getting her hearing back, her dad told NBC’s Today show in April.

YouTube Rewind features North Texans

YouTube Rewind featured YouTubers who starred "in a mashup of popular moments this year.”

14-year-old Sam Horowitz of Dallas became a YouTube star after a video went viral of an elaborate opening song and dance performance from his bar mitzvah. It featured Sam surrounded by clothed burlesque dancers as they grooved to Christina Aguilera's "Show Me How You Burlesque." Sam was dubbed the bar mitzvah babe.

In September, Sam appeared on "Ellen," where he recreated his hit video.

Then there’s Denton resident Laina Morris, aka the Overly Attached Girlfriend, who’s scored tons of YouTube love with her bizarre videos and internet memes. Mashable named her one of the 15 people made famous by the internet.

Here’s one of her videos, in which she makes a simple sandwich and tells her audience: “If you can follow these simple steps, there’s no way your man will ever leave you. And if he tries …” Then she grabbed a nice big knife and sliced into the sandwich, looking crazed. “… I’m sure you can think of a way to keep him around.”

In YouTube Rewind 2013, Laina is featured at 1:52, and Sam is featured at 2:27. The video has been viewed more than 34 million times:

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.