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Massive Explosion at Texas Plant ‘Kills Many,’ Injures Hundreds, Levels 5-Block Radius

Posted by feww on April 18, 2013

Deadly explosion at fertilizer plant rocks Texas town

A massive explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant 20 miles north of Waco has caused “many fatalities,” injuring  hundreds of others and destroying scores of homes and businesses, emergency official reported.

The fire officials fear as many as 70 fatalities may have occurred, and Texas Department of Public Safety says more than 200 others have been injured in the explosion, 48 critically.

At least 100 houses and business were completely destroyed near the plant, which is located in the small town of West (Population:  ~ 2,700), officials said.

west texas explosion
Inferno at West Fertilizer Plant – Freeze frame from an aerial news clip possibly by WFAA.

The West Fertilizer Plant exploded about 8:00 p.m. Wednesday local time, sending a massive plume of hazardous gas into the air, and prompting the authorities to evacuate the area.  Two subsequent explosions occurred about 10 p.m., according to local reports.

Buildings in a five-block radius from the plant were destroyed or severely damaged by the explosions, said West’s mayor.

At least a dozen buildings were still on fire, but the cause of the explosion, which was described as being like “an atom bomb” where  was unconfirmed, as of posting.

“It was a small fire and then water got sprayed on the ammonia nitrate, and it exploded just like the Oklahoma City bomb,” said a clerk at the Czech Best Western Hotel in West. “I live about a thousand feet from it and it blew my screen door off and my back windows. There’s houses leveled that were right next to it. We’ve got people injured and possibly dead.”

west fertilizer
Photo credit:  Brandon Bird, volunteer firefighter in West.

“A shock wave from the explosion may have been felt in parts of North Texas and mistaken for an earthquake,” according to WFAA.

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