A massive explosion has rocked a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas. Rescue crews are on the scene as a number of injuries have been reported, according to local affiliate KWTX. Several buildings are thought to have been destroyed.
There were accounts of people trapped in a nearby nursing home, which had been damaged, and residents stranded in an adjacent apartment building. Initial reports indicated that at least five victims were in critical condition.
The explosion occurred around 7:50pm local time in the town of West, north of Waco. A fireball of nearly 100 feet high has been reported along with a massive power outage.
A large swath of West, Texas was “leveled” in the explosion, according to WFAA-TV Dallas reporter Jason Whitely.
Nine emergency helicopters were reported to be en route to the local high school. Emergency officials were also trying to evacuate a neighborhood near the site of the explosion. Hospital officials told CNN they were anticipating as many as 100 victims.
Police officers were witnessed transporting the injured in their squad cars.
At least 10 other buildings are on fire, including the town middle school, according to other media outlets. Every available ambulance had been dispatched while fire crews from neighboring areas have rushed to the scene.
An emergency responder requested help over local radio with a “major collapse” on a second floor where children were thought to be trapped.
Multiple commenters on RT’s story reported feeling the blast from their homes, which were located as much as dozens of miles from the fertilizer plant.
Watch for the fallout next - caused by possible fluorine gas exposure.
Wow, I hadnt heard about this. But I dont watch the local news.
UPDATE: Entire town (within a mile radius) to be evacuated - toxic fumes may be spreading
UPDATE: Hospital told to anticipate 100 people with injuries, Hospital CEO tells CNN
UPDATE: Up To 70 Dead, 38 seriously injured included blast injuries, orthopedic injuries, large wounds and a lot of lacerations and cuts.
UPDATE: *AS MANY AS 80 HOMES DESTROYED IN TEXAS FERTILIZER BLAST: CNN
CNN Reports from Dr. George Smith, the emergency management system director of the city:
Fire officials fear that the number of casualties could rise as high as 60 to 70 dead,
"That's a really rough number, I'm getting that figure from firefighters, we don't know yet," he said.
"There are lots of houses that are leveled within a two-block radius," Smith said. "A lot of other homes are damaged as well outside that radius."
"It was an apartment complex that was devastated, and the nursing home. The fire was close to a residential area,"
You smell that? I don't think it's fertilizer...
Thats right!!! Wow.
A disaster of this scale at a chemical plant poses serious contamination danger, although without radiation, nuclear safety expert Robert Jacobs told RT.
Good grief, I bet that stuff makes its way in the air right over my house.....crap.