An explosion has ripped through a fertilizer plant near Waco in Texas and damaged or destroyed numerous buildings including a school and nursing home, and killing at least two people and injuring more than 100, authorities have said…
An explosion has ripped through a fertilizer plant near Waco in Texas and damaged or destroyed numerous buildings including a school and nursing home, and killing at least two people and injuring more than 100, authorities have said.
A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety said on Thursday an unknown number of people were killed in the massive explosion that has likely left more than 100 people injured and at least 50-75 houses damaged.
Dean Wilson said it will be some time before authorities know the full extent of the loss of life and damage caused by Wednesday night’s blast at the plant in West, about 30km north of Waco.
He said all the wounded have been taken to hospital and search is on for more people, but declined to confirm the number of casualties.
The blast was reported at about 8pm local time (01:00 GMT on Thursday) in West, about 130km south of city of Dallas. A dispatcher with Texas Fire Department said the explosion happened on Wednesday night.
Tommy Muska, West’s mayor, said buildings in a five-block radius from the plant were severely damaged by the explosion.
More than 100 people were being taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, about 30km from the accident site, said vice president of hospital operations David Argueta.
A senior official said the nursing home and much of the centre of town had been evacuated, and that residences near the explosion had been leveled.
The air in town remained thick with smoke more than two hours after the explosion, and the area around the blast site was littered with shards of wood, bricks and glass.
Governor Rick Perry issued a statement saying his office had “mobilised state resources to help local authorities” deal with the incident.
“We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident,” the statement said.
A White House official said the Obama administration was aware of the situation and monitoring local and state response through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Gayle Scarbrough, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety in Waco, told television station KWTX that DPS troopers have been transporting the injured to hospitals in their patrol cars.
She said six helicopters were also en route.