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Texas Mayor: 14 dead in fertilizer plant explosion


19:07, April 19, 2013

Texas Mayor Tommy Muska says 14 people are now known to have died in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, including four emergency medical staff and five volunteer firefighters who are officially listed as missing.

Speaking at a news conference at the Texas Department of Public Safety’s headquarters in Austin, the state governor Rick Perry says the explosion was a nightmare scenario, and has praised the response of emergency rescue workers.

Rick Perry also says the site of the blast is a disaster area. He says he will request federal aid from President Barack Obama to help the recovery effort.

Wednesday evening’s blast destroyed nearly 100 homes and businesses. Three hospitals in Waco and Dallas are treating more than 160 people injured in the blast. According to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, 28 patients remain in, with five in a serious condition. Officials in Texas say the explosion site remains "volatile" because of the presence ammonium nitrate, and the search for survivors is continuing.

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