Thursday, 18 April 2013

# Foreign News # LWN

Deadly explosion at Texas fertilizer plant kills 15, Injured over 150 people

    
A deadly explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant yesterday night Wednesday April 17th has left at least 15 people dead, including five volunteer firefighters and one police officer. The blast, which measured 2.1 on the Richter scale according to Reuters, left the town of West, 20 miles north of Waco, 'like a a warzone'. Over 180 people were injured in the blast, while dozens of homes and buildings were destroyed.

Public safety officials say they expect the death toll to rise and that rescue efforts have been hampered because of hazardous chemicals in the air following the explosion.

According to Reuters News,
A fire had broken out at the plant before the 8 p.m. explosion rocked West, a town of 2,700 people about 20 miles north of Waco and 80 miles south of Dallas.

Witness Kevin Smith told CBS News he had just climbed the stairs to the second floor of his home when he felt the blast.

"The house exploded. It was just a bright flash and a roar, I thought it was lightning striking the house," Smith said. "I felt myself flying through the air about 10 feet, and it took a second or two to realize that the roof had caved in on me so I knew it wasn't lightning."

Light rain was falling and winds had picked up to 22 miles per hour Thursday morning, conditions that could complicate the recovery effort or prompt additional evacuations.

"I've never seen anything like this," McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said. "It looks like a war zone with all the debris."

Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco admitted 28 of more than 100 people it treated, with five in the intensive care unit, said David Argueta, vice president of operations.

The explosion came two days before the 20th anniversary of a fire in nearby Waco that engulfed a compound inhabited by David Koresh and his followers in the Branch Davidian sect, ending a siege by federal agents.

About 82 members of the sect and four federal agents died at Waco.

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