Thursday, 18 April 2013

Texas fertilizer plant explosion causes multiple injuries and fatalities

Texas fertilizer plant explosion causes multiple injuries and fatalities, Hundreds of people have been injured and dozens killed in a fertilizer plant explosion in West Texas, according to an April 18 KWTX Texas television station report. The explosion rocked the West Texas plant on Wednesday night leaving severe damages in its wake. A 50 unit apartment building was ripped apart and a nearby nursing home, where residents were evacuated was also damaged.

West EMS Director Dr. George Smith told KWTX station that several people were confirmed dead. As of Wednesday evening, Smith confirmed that six firefighters and two paramedics were dead, and seven nursing home residents were missing.

Public Safety spokesman D.L. Wilson noted, “We do have confirmed fatalities. It’s going to be a number.” Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton also confirmed deaths though he cautioned that the number was still unknown.

As far as the cause of the blast, the explosion scene is being treated like a crime scene until authorities can prove it was an industrial accident. The McLennan County Sheriff's office is investigating the deaths and the ATF is investigating the fire.

KWTX reports that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality cited the plant in 2006 for failure to obtain or qualify for a permit. The agency also investigated the plant on June 2006 after receiving a complaint from a resident regarding a strong ammonia smell.

According to the Huffington Post, Gov. Rick Perry released a statement updating residents on the explosion. “We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident. We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene.”

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