Plant explosion in Texas
Fifteen people are feared dead and over 160 injured in a massive fertiliser plant explosion, devastating the entire town of West, 18 miles north of Waco in central Texas, on Wednesday evening.
It is reported that a fire at the factory started at around 6pm in the evening and while the firefighters and police were tackling the blaze and evacuating residents, the West Fertilizer Company plant exploded, showering burning debris and shrapnel, at around 7.50pm local.
The explosion was registered as a 2.1 magnitude seismic event and heard by residents nearly 45 miles away.
More than 160 people have been reported injured and are being treated at the local hospitals in Waco and Dallas for mostly lacerations and orthopaedic-type injuries.
Furthermore, several firefighters and at least one police officer are still reported missing.
By midnight, the blaze was brought under control with the joint effort of 30 fire department units. There has been no immediate confirmation as to what caused the blast.
However, the emergency services officials have commented that it could be the anhydrous ammonia, a poisonous and inflammable gas used in fertiliser, that triggered the fire and it has been reported that the factory had 20 tonnes of it on site.
Firefighters and rescue teams are still going from home to home trying to save any survivors. The Red Cross has also been working with emergency management officials to shelter the displaced and evacuated residents.