60-70 dead in Texas plant explosion – media

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Many feared dead and injured by an explosion at a fertilizer plant outside Waco, Texas, local media report.


CHICAGO- Some 60 to 70 people were killed and hundreds were injured by an explosion at a fertilizer plant outside Waco, Texas, local media reported, citing the local emergency manager.

Emergency workers assist an elderly person at a staging area at a local school stadium Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in West, Texas. An explosion Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant near Waco sent flames shooting high into the night sky, leaving the factory a smoldering ruin, causing major damage at nearby buildings and injuring numerous people. AP

The report could not be immediately verified by AFP, but KWTX television cited West Emergency Management Services Director George Smith as confirming the death toll.

The explosion comes as the United States was on edge as it pieces through deadly explosions that hit the Boston marathon on Monday, followed by letters, apparently poisoned with ricin, sent to President Barack Obama and a US senator.

Firefighters responding to the scene in West were also injured in a secondary blast, according to radio traffic by emergency managers being broadcast by CBS News.

“There has been an explosion on the fire scene, there are firefighters down at this time,” a dispatcher said.

A man on the scene reported that “the restroom is severely damaged we have many people down.”

Firefighters also said they were setting up a triage unit at an apartment building where people were trapped.

The explosion at the West Fertilizer plant occurred just before 8:00 pm (0100 GMT), Waco Assistant Fire Chief Don Yeager told AFP by phone.

The cause was not immediately known but he said it was an anhydrous ammonia explosion.

Fire departments from nearby jurisdictions rushed to the scene in the small town of West, north of Waco, where the blast was so powerful that it knocked down some nearby buildings, and set fire to others.

“An explosion has ignited adjacent structures to the plant,” Yeager said.

The injured were being rushed to local hospitals.

Neighbors told local media that their windows were blown out by the force of the explosion.

“It was a small fire and then water got sprayed the ammonia nitrate, and it exploded just like the Oklahoma City bomb,” Jason Shelton, a clerk at the Czech Best Western Hotel in West, told The Dallas Morning News.

A person looks on as emergency workers fight a house fire after a near by fertilizer plant exploded Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in West, Texas. (AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte)

“I live about a thousand feet (300 meters) from it and it blew my screen door off and my back windows. There’s houses leveled that were right next to it. We’ve got people injured and possibly dead.”

The Oklahoma City bombing of 1995 claimed 168 lives.

Bill Bohannan, who was visiting his parents in West, near the plant, witnessed the explosion.

“It knocked us into the car… Every house within about four blocks is blown apart,” he told the Waco Tribune-Herald.

Crystal Anthony told the paper that a nearby nursing home, apartment complex and West Middle School had also caught fire. Anthony said she and her daughter were almost knocked down several blocks from the explosion.

“We’ve been moving patients out of the nursing home and taking them to the football field and gymnastics building on Davis Street,” she added.

April 19 will be the 20th anniversary of the Waco siege, a deadly confrontation between federal authorities and heavily armed locals there. After a 51-day standoff, a gun battle broke out with US agents and the Branch Davidian religious group’s compound burned.

Dozens of people were killed in an incident that many far-right groups see as a symbol of egregious US government overreach.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • jolly_baby

    Yawn… Zzzzz.. Any other news? What happened to the telecom SMS refund? How about the shootout? How about the hazing in dasma? No continuity.. forgotten

    • pinoyislander

      wtf! how could someone prioritize a news about a hazing student victim over this international news headline grabber. this could be one of the biggest news ever come out this year lalo na kung may terrorist background pa ito. kaso nga lang tragedy sya. kung ayaw mo magbasa ng ganitong news wag ka magbasa ng news online manood ka na lang tv kung saan puro crime at tsismis ang balita.

      lest just hope for the best sa mga victims at sa mga tao around the place

      • dodong1

        puso mo, puso mo, puso mo…he he he

    • SMEjhong

      kahit nga TV ala siguro to’..nakikinig lang to ng radyo – chinese frequency pa -!!..ikaw kaya pasabugin ko..

  • Missy Thurngood

    UsaToday and CNN does not report and casualty as of yet. Inquirer once again sensationalizes and exaggerates headlines. Tabloid much?

    • Babiker_Ahmed

      You hate PDI that much.. They just fed the news from Agence France-Presse!

      • Missy Thurngood

        if you don’t have a problem reading ‘made up’ stories then i suggest read a comic book.

      • emri

        galing daw sa AFP yung balita, ni-run lang sa PDI.

    • pinoyislander

      bbc reported that there are confirmed dead but official wont give a figure, a while ago there headline tells that there are dozens dead. maybe 60-70 is not an exaggeration

      • Missy Thurngood

        There were only 66 people there, and 20 already were confirmed to be unharmed. Do the math. My point is without verifying, Inquirer chooses to post a glaring headline to attract attention. Exactly what a tabloid does.

  • regd

    What the heck dead are you talking about? All major news media never mentioned of any casualty yet! PDI is beginning to be like yahoo news! SERIOUSLY!

    I just lost 5 minutes of my precious time reading this.

  • Fulpol

    not interested… never did they show interest in Sabah incident…

    doggy aw aw aw….

    • Gu3st

      why do they care about sabah? your username matches your brain..

    • boboposter

      Sabah incident? LOL that’s important…

    • Crazy_horse101010

      99 percent of americans have never heard of sabah. i never did until a couple of months ago and why does it have to do with them.. good thing you never had a iq test you couldnt even pass a urine test

      • patrickinca

        hahahahaha

  • Juan_Smith

    Taken from KTVU news . . . the same number of casualties yet other channel is saying no death confirm yet.

  • generalproblem

    malamang kasama ng boston bombing yan. puro bomba yung material dun kasi gawaan pala ng fertelizer.

  • Vertumnus

    CNN and the rest of US news outlets say only 2 are confirmed dead. How did Inquirer get 60 to 70? Until the dust settles and morning comes to Texas will they know the full extent of damage and lose of life. Surely Inquirer can refrain from speculating as to the number of dead before official count is given by authorities.

    • Crazy_horse101010

      cebu papers sat 66 injured. cnn says 2 dead emergency workers so far. it was the fire fighters that bore most of the damage

      • Crazy_horse101010

        whoops say cebu papers never listed any numbers for dead

  • http://www.facebook.com/alfa.saclao Alfa Saclao

    what would it be if the whole US of A will be put under martial Law??? ,,… creepy./////

    • Crazy_horse101010

      why this isnt the first time fertilizer ever blew up. we used to use it in road construction. with 60 percent gel. a truck load blew up in roseburg oregon causing lots of damage and loss of lives. another thing that blows up on occasion is grain elevators because of dust

  • TheHopefulPessimist

    This tragic news story makes me think and worry about Manila’s Pandacan oil depot. Perhaps the government should revisit the idea of relocating to a more secure and less populous area.

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