Six Firefighters, Two Paramedics and a Police Officer Feared Dead in Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion
A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday night near Waco, Texas left dozens of people injured and many are feared dead.An exact death toll and the number of injured isn't available at this time, but we know the explosion rocked the small town of West, Texas, located 19 miles north of Waco.
According to KWTX, six firefighters, two paramedics and a police officer are confirmed dead and seven nursing home residents were missing after the blast according to West EMS Director Dr. George Smith, who said Wednesday night as many as 60 or 70 people may have died in the blast.
West Mayor Tommy Muska said at 11 pm that most of the fires caused by the explosion were contained, but the damage from the blast forced the evacuation from 133 people at a nursing home.
One relative searching for a relative, possibly lost in the commotion, said, "It was like a nuclear bomb went off."
George Smith, community emergency medical services director said some 10 to 15 buildings have been "totally demolished" and "probably 50 homes (were) heavily damaged." According to authorities, the fertilizer plant was near an apartment complex and nursing home. The fear is that some people might be trapped in collapsed buildings.
A large area of the was damaged and evacuations had been ordered. The injured were initially being treated on the West High School football field, but the triage center had to be moved to a community center because it was too close to a fire at the nearby plant.
Anhydrous ammonia is a concern of those in the vicinity of the explosion according to Smith. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anhydrous ammonia is a pungent gas with suffocating fumes that is used as a fertilizer.
West Mayor Tommy Muska says that his city of about 2,800 residents needs "your prayers."