UPDATE: Several Injured in Texas Plant Explosion

By Associated Press | 

Update , 4/18/13, 5:25am


WEST, Texas (AP) -- Police in Texas say between five and 15 people were killed in a fertilizer plant explosion that also injured more than 160 others.

Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said early Thursday morning that the death toll is only an estimate as search and rescue operations remain under way in downtown West.

An explosion Wednesday night shook the ground with the strength of a small earthquake in the community of 2,800 people located about 20 miles north of Waco.

Swanton says there is no indication the blast was anything other than an industrial accident.

Update , 4/18/13, 12:15am

WEST, Texas (AP) -- The mayor of West, Texas, says volunteer firefighters went to fight a fire at a fertilizer plant about a half-hour before a massive explosion tore through it and damaged surrounding buildings.

Mayor Tommy Muska says he's a volunteer firefighter himself and his helmet was knocked off when the explosion tore through the West Fertilizer plant around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Muska says the blast badly damaged buildings for a five-block radius around the plant, including a nearby middle school and nursing home. He says the nursing home's 133 residents were safely evacuated.

A Waco hospital official says at least 66 people were taken there for treatment, including some who were seriously hurt.

WACO, Texas (AP) -- Authorities say an explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas, has injured several people.

A dispatcher with the West, Texas, Fire Department says the explosion happened Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant in the community north of Waco. She says any casualties would be taken to hospitals in Waco.

Gayle Scarbrough, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety in Waco, told television station KWTX that DPS troopers have been transporting the injured to hospitals in their patrol cars. She says six helicopters were also en route.

KWTX reports that the explosion at West Fertilizer was reported at around 7:50 p.m. in a frantic call from the scene.

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