Fertilizer Plant Explosion in West Texas Claims Lives

Posted By The Carlson Law Firm || 18-Apr-2013

A fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas has left as many as one hundred people injured, countless others missing and an unknown number of people dead after the plant erupted, leveling nearby homes and apartments. West is a small community located just 20 miles north of Waco, Texas.

Authorities on the scene of the West fertilizer explosion said more than 100 people were transported to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center with injuries. Some officials are estimating as many as 60—70 people could have potentially perished in the blast. The count continues, but it is estimated that 15 may be dead and at least 160 injured at this time. Those who were injured by the blast are suffering from broken bones, severe bruising, lacerations, respiratory distress, minor burns and head injuries, according to Waco police Sgt. William Swanton.

A 50-unit apartment complex was left a mere skeleton after the fertilizer explosion in West, TX tore through the residence, displacing countless people.

In addition to residents from the apartment complex, nearby nursing homes and surrounding houses have been affected. Authorities also fear the safety of first responders and other emergency personnel who arrived at the scene. Many eye-witness and police reports indicate that the surrounding community was leveled. One report even stated that four blocks of houses surrounding the plant had been completely destroyed, leaving the city of West in devastation.

According to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, the environment surrounding the scene of the Texas plant explosion is being tested and monitored to reveal the possibility of dangerous exposure. Officials are urging people to stay clear of the region due to the risk of poisonous ammonia gas leaking in the area near the West, TX blast.

As many as five fire fighters who had initially arrived after the fire began at approximately 7:29 p.m. on the scene before the blast are still unaccounted for, authorities reported.

Witnesses interviewed by local news sources reported that the where-abouts of countless people remained unknown following the fertilizer explosion, which ripped through area homes, leaving some people trapped beneath the rubble.

The cause of the blast is currently being investigated. It appears as if this incident was an industrial accident, but investigators are digging deeper to ascertain what specifically went wrong. Many suspect ammonium nitrate, as it is a highly combustible material used in fertilizer production. This is the same substance that was used in the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995.

Chemical explosions have contributed to more than a dozen similar industrial accidents over the past century. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is responsible for investigating plants and refineries like the one in West, but there is no record of an OSHA investigation at this plant within the past five years. Time will tell what caused this accident and how many were affected by it.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this horrible tragedy.

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