A large explosion ripped through a fertilizer plant 20 miles north of Waco, Texas, setting dozens of nearby buildings on fire and injuring possibly as many as 100 people tonight, according to television news reports and authorities.
Many of the victims lived near the plant located on the edge of the small town of West, CNN reported. According to an interview with the town’s mayor Tommy Muska, a school, apartment building and nursing home were severely damaged.
Two fatalities were confirmed by George Smith, the town’s emergency medical services director, in an interview with CNN.
“I expect there will be many fatalities,” said Smith, “and many more critically injured people.”
Smith told CNN there were at least 50 damaged buildings, adding that search and rescue efforts of collapsed buildings were being delayed by toxic smoke coming from the blaze.
At a midnight press conference, D.L. Wilson, of the Department of Public Safety, said that an apartment building with 50 units was reduced to a skeleton-like frame and 133 people were evacuated from the nursing home. He would not indicate how many people had died.
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