China Politics | CPC News| Foreign Affairs | World | Opinion| Business | China Military | Society | Life & Culture | Travel | Sports | Science | Education | Photo | Tibet Online | Special Coverage

English >> World

Up to 15 killed in massive Texas fertilizer plant explosion

Xinhua)  08:52, April 19, 2013  

A huge explosion occurred at a fertilizer plant Wednesday night in the U.S. state of Texas, likely causing heavy casualties, U.S. media reported. (Xinhua)

WEST, Texas, April 18 (Xinhua) -- A massive explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160 others, authorities say.

The explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. in downtown West, about 80 miles (130 km) south of Dallas, rocked the area with the strength of a magnitude 2.1 earthquake and leveled dozens of homes.

The explosion about 8 p.m. Wednesday local time shot flames high into the night sky and dropped burning sparks and debris down on shocked and frightened residents of the town of 2,800 people.

At a press conference early Thursday, Waco Police spokesperson William Swanton said that investigators had yet to determine the cause of the fire or blast.

"We are not indicating that it is a crime but we don't know," he said. "What that means to us is that until we know it is an industrial accident, we will work it as a crime scene."

Authorities said that between five and 15 people likely were killed in the blast but emphasized that was an early estimate as search and rescue operations remained under way. And the death toll could climb as the search continued.

"We've got a lot of people who are hurt, and there's a lot of people, I'm sure, who aren't gonna be here tomorrow," West Mayor Tommy Muska told reporters, "We're gonna search for everybody. We're gonna make sure everybody's accounted for. That's the most important thing right now."

Texas Public Safety Department spokesman D.L. Wilson told reporters that 50 to 75 houses were damaged by the explosion and fire and about half of the town, eight to 10 blocks, had been evacuated.

"We might even have to evacuate on the other side of town" if the winds shift, Wilson said.

Residents were urged to remain indoors because of the threat of new explosions or leaks of ammonia from the plant's ruins, Wilson said.

A hazardous material team was deployed to the scene to cope with the high density of anhydrous ammonia as smoke and a pungent smell wafted in the air hours after the explosion.

According to media reports, three hospitals in Waco and Dallas were treating more than 160 injuries from the blast.

Hot News We Recommend
China’s national defense white paper shows courage, confidence Female aviators around world
SPECIAL: Funeral of Thatcher held at St. Paul's Cathedral Supporters, protesters turn out for Thatcher funeral
Suspicious envelope found in U.S. Senate office building Expert: US should re-think anti-terrorism strategy
Investigators believe Boston bombings suspect identified World in photo

【1】 【2】 【3】 【4】 【5】 【6】 【7】 【8】 【9】 【10】
【11】 【12】 【13】 【14】 【15】 【16】 【17】 【18】 【19】 【20】

(Editor:MaXi、Yao Chun)


Related Reading

Leave your comment


Selection for you