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Explosion at a fertiliser factory


Montse

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Scores of people are reported injured and others are trapped in burning buildings after a huge explosion at a fertiliser plant near Waco in the US state of Texas.

 

Firefighters, ambulances and six helicopters have been mobilised to deal with the situation.

 

Several buildings are still on fire, after the blast at the West Fertilizer plant about 19:50 (00:50 GMT).

 

An official confirmed there were deaths, but could not give a figure.

 

It was like being in a tornado. Stuff was flying everywhere. It blew out my windshield. It was like the whole earth shook.”

 

Debby Marak, witness

Dean Wilson, of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a news conference that they were still conducting house to house searches.

 

He said the fire was still smouldering and that no firefighters were tackling it as there was the risk of further explosions.

 

Half the town had been evacuated, he added.

 

The Waco Tribune-Herald reported that firefighters had been trying to put out a fire at the plant when the explosion happened, and that some were among those injured.

 

The blast happened in West, a town of about 2,700 people some 20 miles (32km) north of Waco.

 

 

TV images showed streams of emergency vehicles descending on the site and ambulance crews using a nearby sports field as an emergency treatment area.

 

Glenn A Robinson, chief executive of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, told CNN that his hospital had received 66 injured people including 38 who were seriously hurt.

 

He said the hospital was seeing "everything from orthopaedic injuries to patients that are experiencing serious blood loss".

 

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said: "It's a lot of devastation. I've never seen anything like this. It looks like a war zone with all the debris."

 

 

Local emergency workers were mobilised to the scene

Unconfirmed reports said a nursing home had collapsed in the explosion and some people were believed trapped inside.

 

Witness Debby Marak told the Associated Press news agency that she had seen smoke coming from the area near the plant and had driven over to see what was happening.

 

She said that when she arrived, two boys ran toward her screaming that the authorities had told them to leave because the fertiliser plant was going to explode.

 

 

The massive blast was heard from miles around

She said she drove a short distance before the blast happened.

 

"It was like being in a tornado," she said. "Stuff was flying everywhere. It blew out my windshield. It was like the whole earth shook."

 

Another resident told KWTX-TV that she heard several explosions from 13 miles (20km) away.

 

"It sounded like three bombs going off very close to us,'' said Lydia Zimmerman.

 

The air in town was still covered in acrid smoke more than two hours after the explosion.

 

The area around the site was littered with shards of wood, bricks and glass.

 

Texas Governor Rick Perry said in a statement: "We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident.

 

"We have also mobilised state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene

 

Beeb report

 

The explosion was captured here :ohmy:

 

http://t.co/CezbLTc3O2

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isn't tomorrow the anniversary ot Waco killing and Oklahoma city? It all sounds like an accident, but that would also seem a big coincidence

 

 

kinda what i was thinking when i heard Waco and on the back of Boston - but it could just be a coincidence

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Yeah my first thought too. Weird coincidence if so.

Isn't fertiliser a common ingredient in bombs? This could be a Jack Bauer-esque plan to cover tracks.

 

"But Jack we could have got Chloe to just erase some files"

"There was no time DAMMIT!"

Edited by cymrococh
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