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Dozens Feared Dead in Texas Plant Blast

Locals evacuated amid concerns of another explosion

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 18, 2013 4:41 AM CDT | Updated Apr 18, 2013 7:59 AM CDT
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(Newser) – At least five to 15 people have died in a fertilizer plant explosion near Waco, Texas, NBC News reports—and the toll could ultimately be in the dozens, notes the Dallas Morning News. The number of people injured has already passed 160 as patients grapple with "blast injuries, orthopedic injuries, (and) a lot of lacerations," says a hospital boss, per CNN. Meanwhile, fears of another explosion at the plant have prompted an evacuation among local residents. The blast followed a fire that "spread and hit some of these tanks that contain chemicals to treat the fertilizer," says a local congressman, per the New York Times.

The explosion may be tied to 54,000 lbs of ammonia at the site in the town of West, reports the BBC. A nearby nursing home and school were both on fire in the town of about 3,000, with an apartment building fully enveloped and dozens of houses damaged, the Morning News reports. The explosion may also have resulted in toxic fumes, the Times notes; it caused a tremor whose power matched a 2.1-magnitude earthquake, NBC adds. First responders are reportedly among the missing. A disturbing video appears to have caught the moment of the explosion.

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