Devastating Explosion At West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Kills Up To 15 And Injures More Than 100
Last night about 8:00 PM, there was a fire at a West, Texas fertilizer plant that was followed by a massive explosion that was heard 50 miles away. The violent explosion, which registered at 2.1 on the Richter scale, decimated buildings within a five block radius of the plant. Initial reports put the death toll at more than 160, but the number of confirmed deaths are now thought to be much smaller, in the 5-15 range with more than 100 injured. Unfortunately, 6 firefighters and 2 paramedics who were on the scene fighting the blaze are among the dead.
At this point in time, there is no indication of foul play and this appears to just be an industrial accident although coincidentally it is just one day off of the twenty year anniversary of the fire at the Branch Davidian compound in nearby Waco, Texas. Before the explosion, a building containing 300 tons of ammonium nitrate was seen to be on fire. Although ammonium nitrate is used in fertilizer, it can also be used a component in some types of bombs. The ATF will be investigating the blast, but at the moment, the site is still too hot for investigators to enter. Additionally, the Waco police department has announced that there has been some looting of homes damaged in the explosion.
The Waco Police Department’s Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton addressed that issue as well as the possibility that there were still people trapped in the rubble in the surrounding area.
“We are securing that neighborhood the best we can,” Swanton said. He added, “They are still getting injured folks out and they are evacuating people from their homes.” He also noted that, “At some point this will turn into a recovery operation, but at this point, we are still in search and rescue.”
Sadly, in the early morning hours, there were still residents wandering the street searching for missing loved ones and shelter.