Apocalypse in small town Texas:
dozens feared dead in plant explosionThe death toll is expected to climb after a fertilizer plant
explosion near Waco, Texas. Authorities fear that as many as five to 15 people
may have been killed after the West Fertilizer Company exploded yesterday. As
many as 100 people may have been wounded.The air
in West remains thick with smoke more than two hours after the explosion, and
the area around the blast site was littered with shards of wood, bricks and
glass.LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online):
Surrounding buildings were destroyed in the blast. A school and nearby nursing
home collapsed in the conflagration, and many people are feared trapped under
the debris at the nursing home.
Authorities are conducting
house-to-house searches. The number of fatalities would not be established until
"The main concern right now is that wind gusts will have
changed directions and that possibility of ammonia and other kinds of toxic
fumes will endanger people in the other half of the town which has not yet been
evacuated," a reporter at the scene said.
Five or six volunteer
firefighters who were among the first on the scene in the blast zone were
unaccounted for, according to West Mayor Tommy Muska. All residents have been
evacuated and are in safe locations.
Spokesman for the Texas Department
of Public Safety Dean Wilson said that 50 to 75 houses were damaged by the
explosion and the resultant fire. A nearby 50-unit apartment complex had
reportedly been reduced to "a skeleton standing up."
It will be some time
before authorities can put a personal and dollar amount to the devastation
wreaked on the Texas town of West, about 18 miles north of Waco.
father of two who lives a mile away from the plant, said he heard fire trucks
heading towards the facility five minutes before the explosion. He says he felt
the concussion from the blast as he stood on his front porch.
started rattling and my kids screaming," he said. "The screen door hit me in the
forehead ... and all the screens blew off my windows."
West's mayor, said buildings in a five-block radius from the plant were severely
damaged by the explosion.
Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco
reported treating 66 patients, including children, for injuries including
lacerations, burns and broken bones.
"We are seeing a lot of lacerations
and orthopedic-type injuries ... things you would expect in an explosion," Vice
President of Hospital Operations David Argueta said.
Nine people suffered
burns had been transferred to the Parkland Hospital in Dallas. A third hospital,
Providence Health Center, reported receiving more than 30 patients from the
The air in West remains thick with smoke more than two hours
after the explosion, and the area around the blast site was littered with shards
of wood, bricks and glass.