Fertilizer Plant Explosion Leaves More than 100 Wounded in Central Texas; Fatalities Unclear (+video)

Photo Credit: Washington Post

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in central Texas left more than 100 people wounded and killed an unspecified number Wednesday night, officials said, as first responders searched for victims in scores of wrecked homes.

Images of the gargantuan fireball were particularly jarring, coming just two days after a terrorist attack at the finish line of the Boston marathon. Officials in Texas said it was too early to say how the fire that triggered the blast began, and offered no evidence to suggest it involved foul play.

“Right now, we have tremendous amounts of injuries,” D.L. Wilson, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety told reporters shortly after midnight in a televised news conference. “It was massive, just like Iraq, just like the Murrah building in Oklahoma,” he added, referring to the April 19, 1995, bombing of the federal building in that city.

Authorities were struggling to get a clear sense of the damage in the tiny town of West, 20 miles north of Waco, because blazes were still raging in the area. They expressed concern about the hazard ammonia billowing through the air could cause.

Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton, a Waco police spokesman told reporters during a news conference early Thursday that firefighters and law enforcement personnel who were in the vicinity of the blast are unaccounted for.

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