Scores Hurt as Blast Rocks Fertilizer Plant Near Waco

Devastating explosion hits West, Texas

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Apr 17, 2013 9:41 PM CDT | Updated Apr 17, 2013 11:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco tonight injured dozens of people, left the factory a smoldering ruin, and damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The blast at the plant in West, a community north of Waco, happened shortly before 8pm and could be heard 45 miles away. West Mayor Tommy Muska said he doesn't yet know how many people had been injured or killed. "There are a lot of people that got hurt," he said. "There are a lot of people that will not be here tomorrow." A local hospital official told CNN that his facility had received 66 injured people, including 38 who were seriously hurt.

One local resident said that prior to the explosion, she noticed smoke in the area across town near the plant, which is near a nursing home. She drove over to see what was happening, and that when she got there, two boys came running toward her screaming that the authorities ordered everyone out because the plant was going to explode. She said she drove about a block when the blast happened. "It was like being in a tornado," said Debby Marak, 58, by phone. "Stuff was flying everywhere. It blew out my windshield."

In this Instagram photo provided by Andy Bartee, a plume of smoke rises from a fertilizer plant fire in West, Texas.   (AP Photo/Andy Bartee)
Rescue workers pass a damaged apartment complex after a nearby fertilizer plant exploded Wednesday in West, Texas.   (AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)
A person looks on as emergency workers fight a house fire after a nearby fertilizer plant exploded Wednesday in West, Texas.   (AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)
Emergency workers assist an elderly person at a staging area at a local school stadium Wednesday in West, Texas. A nursing home was next to the fertilizer plant that exploded.   (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)
Emergency workers assist an elderly person at a staging area at a local school stadium Wednesday in West, Texas. A nursing home was next to the fertilizer plant that exploded.   (AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)
Persons are seen pushing wheel chairs in front of a damaged nursing home following an explosion at a nearby fertilizer plant Wednesday in West, Texas.   (AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)
An injured elderly person is assisted as a nursing home is evacuated after an explosion at a nearby fertilizer plant.   (AP Photo/Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)
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