West, TX – The Texas fertilizer plant explosion is now under control, but multiple firefighters and other first responders are missing. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, emergency dispatch radio traffic noted that multiple firefighters were down inside the plant.
Although the Waco fertilizer plant explosion has now been deemed under control, a severe storm system is headed into the region. The explosion registered 2.1 on the Richter scale, according to the USGS. The West Fertilizer explosion is currently considered to be an industrial accident. An investigation into the explosion will ultimately take place to officially determine if it was an accident or intentionally set. Some are questioning the ability of a leaking or malfunctioning tank to spark a fire on its on.
The fire ball from the fertilizer plant reportedly went nearly 100 miles into the sky. Between five and 15 people were killed in the Waco fertilizer plant explosion. The death toll may increase, according to local authorities. Search and rescue operations are still underway. More than 160 injured people were transported to area hospitals.
West City Councilman Al Vanek stated that a four-block area around the Texas fertilizer plant was “totally decimated.” A rest home near the plant was not leveled in the blast as some initial reports indicated; all of the residents were successfully evacuated. Multiple homes near the plant were reportedly destroyed or severely damaged as a result of the explosion.
“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 said.
Mayor Muska went on to note that the search will continue for all the missing and local officials are going to make sure that everyone is accounted for. The Waco fertilizer plant explosion occurred while Muska, police officers, and the volunteer firefighters were working to evacuate the area. Like many small towns, West is served entirely by a trained volunteer fire department. They mayor recalls his helmet being knocked off and doors and windows of homes blowing out when the explosion occurred.
West Fertilizer plant was once reportedly fined for not having an official risk management plan in place, according to Fox News. After paying the small fine, the plant did reportedly come into compliance with the regulation.
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