Fatalities Reported in TX Plant Explosion

| April 18, 2013 | 7:40 am
Print Friendly

Video of Wednesday night’s fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas just north of Waco, provides a devastating picture of what happened.  A father and his child stopped along a roadside to film a fire at the West Fertilizer Company when things went extremely wrong.  In the video, the sound of the blast is followed by the father asking the child if he’s okay.  The child pleads with his father to get out of the area.  Please be advise there is some graphic language in the video.

There are confirmed fatalities.  D.L. Wilson with the Texas Department of Public Safety said more than 160 people have been injured.  He added that the extent of devastation can be summed up in a single word.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The West Fertilizer Company makes anhydrous ammonia fertilizer.  Anhydrous ammonia is a gas with suffocating fumes.  Also, when it comes into contact with people it can cause severe burns if it combines with water in the body.  Exposure to high concentrations of anhydrous ammonia can be deadly.  Waco Police Sergeant William Patrick Swanton called the site a crime scene.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Swanton later said that there’s no indication the explosion was anything but an industrial accident. More danger could be on the way.  Meteorologist Rob Carolan said a cold front is sweeping through the area with thunderstorms and strong winds.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Half the 2,800 people who live in West have been evacuated, and the wind shift might force authorities to evacuate the other half.  A nursing home near the blast site partially collapsed, trapping people inside.  Officials said between 75 and 100 homes and businesses were completely leveled.  West, Texas Mayor Tommy Muska said there is some good news to report following the devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in his town. “The nursing home has been evacuated and taken all of the patients out to safe locations. All residents in that area have been evacuated and are at a safe location.”

Congressman Bill Flores who represents that area of the state said he is doing all he can to help.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Authorities are still on a search and rescue mission looking for people who may be trapped or can’t get out because of their injuries.  Nearby hospitals have treated at least 160 people.  At least three firefighters are missing.  A very preliminary estimate is that between five and 15 people have died. Red Cross teams from the Dallas-Fort Worth area as far south as Austin will be working with local volunteers to help those in need.  West, Texas is located about 19 miles north of Waco.

Metro News Source contributed to this report.

morning challenge