2013 Texas Fertilizer Factory Blasts
Two explosions occurred at a fertilizer plant in Texas on April 17, injuring over 200 people in the plant and the neighbourhood. No death has been reported so far. The first explosion occurred around 7:50 PM CDT and spectators saw huge flames in the sky. According to reports, the plant first caught fire, then exploded as firefighters were attempting to douse the flames. The Reason of the Explosion could not be ascertained yet.
In aerial footage from Dallas’ NBC affiliate, WDFW, dozens of emergency vehicles could be seen amassed at the scene. More than two hours after the blast, there were still fires smoldering in what was left of the plant and others burning in nearby buildings. The fire has been brought under control as of 2300 hours EST, however the risk is not over yet.
No information has been received on exact casualty numbers but that the plant was “fully engulfed” in flames before it exploded.
“We do have confirmed fatalities…” Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman D.L. Wilson said at a midnight news conference.
The blast occurred at West, a community north of Waco and it could be heard even at Waxahachie, 45 miles north of West. The spectators saw a huge fireball that rose like “a mushroom cloud.”
The plant belonged to West Fertilizer Company plant. West is a city in McLennan County near Waco, Texas.
The local Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco has reported to receive over 100 injured for treatments. According to Department of Public Safety spokesperson, the explosion injured at least 200 people, 40 of them critically.
A local middle school, West Middle School, located next to the plant, was claimed to be on fire from the blast. Approximately 70 homes, an apartment complex and a nursing home have been completely leveled. The risk is not over yet and the town of West is being evacuated partly for fear of toxic fumes currently spread around the area. One of the Fertilizer plant is still intact and officials are worried that it may explode leading to further damages.
Patients, some of whom had injuries from flying glass, were evacuated from a nearby nursing home. Those living in and around West report that the blast felt like an earthquake.
The Explosion released into air, Anhydrous ammonia, a pungent gas with suffocating fumes that is used as a fertilizer. When exposed to humans, it can cause severe burns if it combines with water in the body.
American Red Cross crews from across Texas are being sent to the site.Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster says her group is working with emergency management officials to find a safe shelter for residents displaced from their homes.
Flight restrictions have been imposed in West and all Schools have been closed for the rest of the week.