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Deadly explosion, fire rip through Texas fertilizer plant


Tweety.Abd

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A deadly explosion and fire tore through a fertilizer plant in a small Texas town late on Wednesday, injuring more than 100 people, leveling dozens of homes and spewing toxic fumes that forced evacuations of half the community, authorities said.

Highlights:

- Massive blast in small town of West, Texas, flattening a five-block radius on Wednesday

- Residents evacuated over fears of secondary explosion at plant
- More than 100 people injured; 24 critically and several undergoing surgery
- Fire crews are desperately battling to rescue people still thought to be trapped
- A number of firefighters are reported missing and 133 residents at a collapsed nursing home have been evacuated
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Inferno: A towering plume of smoke is caught on camera by a resident in West, Texas following the explosion this evening
WEST, Texas | Thu Apr 18, 2013 3:15am EDT
They said an undetermined number of people had been killed, and that the death toll was expected to rise as search teams combed through the rubble of the West Fertilizer Co. plant and surrounding homes.
"We do have confirmed fatalities," Texas Public Safety Department spokesman D.L. Wilson told a news conference early on Thursday, about four hours after the explosion. "The number is not current yet. It could go up by the minute. We're in there searching the area right now and making sure that it's safe."
Officials said flames that continued to smolder inside the plant posed two threats - the possibility of setting off an explosion of a second fertilizer tank and the emission of hazardous fumes into the surrounding community.
Wilson said about half the town, an area encompassing eight to 10 blocks, had been evacuated and that "we might even have to evacuate on the other side of town" if winds shift overnight as expected.
The blast, apparently preceded by a fire at the plant, was reported at about 8 p.m. CDT (0100 GMT on Thursday) in West, a town of some 2,700 people about 80 miles south of Dallas and 20 miles north of Waco.
West Mayor Tommy Muska told Reuters that five or six volunteer firefighters who were among the first on the scene in the blast zone were unaccounted for.
CNN reported that at least two people had been killed, but that figure could not be independently confirmed.
"It's a lot of devastation. I've never seen anything like this," McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said. "It looks like a war zone with all the debris."
CAUSE A MYSTERY
Wilson said 50 to 75 homes were damaged by the explosion and a fire that followed, and that a nearby 50-unit apartment complex had been reduced to "a skeleton standing up." Muska put the number of destroyed homes at between 60 and 80.
Wilson said 133 people had been evacuated from a damaged nursing home, but it was not immediately clear how many residents of the facility were hurt.
He estimated that overall more than 100 people had been injured in the disaster.
There was no immediate official word on what sparked the explosion as emergency personnel assisted victims and doused the flames. U.S. Representative Bill Flores, whose district includes West, said he doubted any foul play was involved.
"I would not expect sabotage by any stretch of the imagination," he told CNN.
The air in town remained thick with smoke hours after the explosion, and the area around the blast site was littered with shards of wood, bricks and glass.
A Texas public safety dispatcher in Waco told Reuters the explosion followed a fire that erupted at the plant. Video footage showed a large fire burning at the scene before exploding into a fireball.
The blast produced ground motion equivalent to that of a magnitude 2.1 earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
A Reuters reporter observed that a nearby middle school and several homes were severely burned. Dallas television station WFAA reported from helicopters that a roughly three-block area of West appeared to have been flattened.
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Damaged: Dozens of homes and other buildings including a school and nursing home have been damaged
BURNS, BROKEN BONES
Jason Shelton, 33, a father-of-two who lives less than a mile from the plant, said he heard fire trucks heading toward the facility five minutes before the explosion, and felt the concussion from the blast as he stood on his front porch.
"My windows started rattling and my kids screaming," Shelton told Reuters. "The screen door hit me in the forehead ... and all the screens blew off my windows."
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," said David Argueta, vice president of hospital operations.
He said nine people suffering burns had been transferred to the Parkland Hospital in Dallas. A third hospital, Providence Health Center, reported receiving more than 30 patients from the disaster.
Governor Rick Perry issued a statement saying his office had "mobilized state resources to help local authorities" deal with the incident.
A White House official said the Obama administration was aware of the situation and monitoring local and state response through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The explosion came two days before the 20th anniversary of a fire in nearby Waco that engulfed a compound inhabited by David Koresh and his followers in the Branch Davidian sect, ending a siege by federal agents.
About 82 members of the sect and four federal agents died at Waco.
Source: Reuters
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I heard about this...this is really terrible news!

Terrible indeed, may God have mercy on you guys.

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This is what happen when CIA + FBI + NSA is too engross in copyright business. Leaving the country unprotected. On the other hand, this could be the push to implement survalliance 24/7 on the US citizens without the need for hiding in the shadows.

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I don't know...but all of this looks bad. They are saying this is an accident but I'm not sure yet. It was ruled an accident really quickly. We shall see.

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I don't know...but all of this looks bad. They are saying this is an accident but I'm not sure yet. It was ruled an accident really quickly. We shall see.

I know this is unrelated but last night I were watching 'Waco Siege' documentary on YT and this morning I read that there was a blast in the same locality. Some are even wondering if it had anything to do with the 20th anniversary of the siege.

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I don't know...but all of this looks bad. They are saying this is an accident but I'm not sure yet. It was ruled an accident really quickly. We shall see.

I hope it was an accident, we don't need more killers. There's already enough of them.

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I hope it's just an accident too, it could very well be just an accident. In case it turns out to be more than just an accident, I'll attempt to get some firm information on this if I can.

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I just watch CBS news and according to the news reporter, they are treating this as a crime scene until it can be ruled out as an accident.

As I said in my above post, this could be just an accident but law enforcement are NOT treating this as an accident until they can rule it out as foul play. That was reported on CBS news, not infowars.

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Thread cleaned, please stay on topic and avoid the personal insults.

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the blast registered as a 2.1 quake that is quite big blast... but there was a lot of fertilizer there too

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