CAUGHT ON CAMERA: Fertilizer plant explosion near Waco

user submitted

Explosion leaves thousands displaced, many injured

POSTED: Thursday, April 18, 2013 - 10:43am
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 1:28pm

A hotline has been set up for any people looking for loved ones possibly injured in the explosion. Here is the number: (254) 202-1100.

The video above is from a witness who caught the explosion on camera.

The Texas Poison Center Network has received numerous phone calls from concerned Texans that may have been exposed to the chemicals in the air around West, Texas. Mild irritation to the eyes, nose and throat may occur. If you’re experiencing symptoms, our trained toxicologists, nurses and pharmacists will be able to provide free, confidential medical advice at 1-800-222-1222.

McLennan County has been declared a DISASTER AREA by President Barack Obama and Governor Rick Perry.

An explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer plant has displaced thousands, an estimated 160 injured and we can confirm, per Waco PD Public Information Officer Swanton, between five and 15 people are dead.

There are still firefighters who were first-responders at the scene that are missing .A law enforcement official who had been missing after the blast has been accounted for and is in a hospital in critical condition, Swanton told CNN.

The explosion happened around 7:50 p.m., at West Fertilizer, Inc.

A triage was initially set up at a nearby high school football field, but they were later moved from the football field to a community center baseball field roughly six blocks away due to fears of a second explosion.

The City of West has been evacuated, and West ISD has informed us via Twitter the schools will be closed until further notice.

KWKT received a viewer submitted video that caught the explosion on camera (see above).

The Texas Department of Public Safety estimates that 75 to 100 houses and businesses have been destroyed in a two-block radius of the plant. It was last reported 11,000 locations are without electrical power.

Aircrafts flying below 3,000 feet have been banned from flying within a 3-mile radius of West.

West, Texas, Mayor Tommy Muska said 50 to 60 houses in a five-block area were heavily damaged.

Pipelines are being monitored and gas distribution has been disconnected to area homes. 

Texas Education Agency is working with local school districts to assist in educational services for the children of West.

Governor Rick Perry issued the following statement following the explosion: "We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident. We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene."

The blast was so strong, it registered as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Photo Courtesy: CNN

West is a community of around 2,800 people, about 75 miles south of Dallas and 120 miles north of Austin. 

According to CNN, The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality website shows West Fertilizer had a complaint filed against it in 2006 for the smell of ammonia.

See more on the latest from CNN.

KWKT has compiled a list of donation locations, shelters, etc. to help loved ones and the community assist in relief efforts.


Comments News Comments

The Dallas Cowboys are again considered the class of the NFC and possibly the entire NFL. This year's team has already seen some bumps and bruises (like a loss to the Redskins) but it is still a very talented team. In my opinion, the Cowboys have more potential than any other team in the league. However, Jerry Jones has created a virtual three-ring circus with his players.
child support

Stop criticizing Texas , and help the needed here in Houston their was a charity everyone who could helped out to give food as well as covers, pillows, food ,water , anything possible to give to the people from West,Texas that is making a difference !!!

I'm so sorry this horrible accident took place. Instead of laying blame on anything or anyone, why don't we all come together and pray or anything else we can do. What if we had acted this way when 911 happened? Saying stuff like, "Why did they build those towers so tall? They were just sitting there waiting for a terrorist to fly planes right into them." "Those towers never should have been built that close to other buildings." We didn't say anything even close to that....we all pulled together

Different vantage point. go frame by frame and tell me what you hear and see!! i have been deployed three times in Afghanistan and i know first hand what is sounds like and looks like when a missile/object slams into the ground. watch and make your judgement.

I was 300 yards away from the plant when it blew. Trust me, as horrible as it was, it was an accident. Drop the conspiracy theories! Geeez

God that kid was a wuss, I would be like this is COOL when I was a kid.

Re: bushsucks12: Yes, it is possible for a state to care for its citizens without the help of federal government intrusion. Not everyone is looking for the freebies from the feds.

usually, land close to a plant is cheaper than land in other spots and to save money entities will buy the cheaper land to build they schools, nursing homes, etc. without thinking about what might but usually never happens...Here again, its all about the benjamins.

yes archammer I saw it. I was able to stop the video at the 29 sec. mark when the boy says "are you serious".

mudd050 I know light travels faster than sound but explain why you can visibly see a flash of light from the left? No where near the flames.

Here I sit in California reading of the loss of family and friends from such a tragic accident. When will people quit trying to read into things that are none of there business or who have no knowledge of the what has happened. Right now we need to pray for the wounded ,hurt and people who have lost friends and family , Not trying to second guess why this all happened or why things were built where they were built.

What an idiot this guy is for stopping anywhere where near a fire that big with a kid in the car. I am sure the child is traumatized listening to his/her little voice. Not to mention he/she says he/she can't hear. But the dad got the video and that's what is most important, right? Geez.

It's people like takinthafreeway that I loathe, all you do is point out the negatives in every situation, just do as a respectable human being would do and send your best wishes to West and hope for the best for those people. Save your unwanted political injustice agenda for a day when it matters

From the great State of Texas that gave us the war criminal Bush the ponzi scheme Enron and now this. Guess what America the cost of your grocery bill just went up exponentially because now of course there is a shortage of fertilizer to grow the crops this season. I can't wait to see the safety record from this business. Hey but don't regulate on a federal level let the states take care of biz. Oh and to the two senators from Texas who voted no on gun control shame on you!

Wow that looks terrible. I sure hope Dick Perry can call on President Obama for federal aid and assistance. Good thing Texas didn't secede from the Union after all. Of course I suppose they could try and take care of this themselves without the big bad federal government helping them out and just let Texans take care of it. Oh I'm sorry didI call gov perry DICK....I meant Rickky of course. On a more serious note sorry for the folks n that town.

Way to take a stab and then try to cover it up with kitty litter condolences. When a tongue is used more to sling crap than it is to offer help, it would be better for all if you just kept your tongue captive inside of your closed mouth. Try kindness.

there is a time and place for humor....this isnt it.

You're an idiot!

You are a piece of work. "Sorry for the folks in that town" is the best you can drum up afer an ignorant statement like this. Thats right, the left only cares for anything or anyone when you are getting the handout, not if other needs help.

A few years ago when 1/2 the state burned Oblumbo didn't give us one red cent. We took care of our own. Still are. Still can. Will again whenever the need arises. We are Texas proud and Texas strong. Perhaps you come from a welfare state and cannot envision self-reliance. So sad for your sheer, unmitigated ignorance and dependence!

you are a total idiot. prayers to the victims and families.

Seriously? Is this the time or place to spout your political views? You suck.

Well aren't you just the sunny personality there Bushy.You'd take the time and make the effort to post a crap laced comment to extend your feble attempts at political humor. Perhaps you missed the fact that many have died, many more were injured...I suspect you do in fact require some sort of attitude adjustment...As for your suggesting that Obama should just "let Texas take care of it themselves", we are very much used to that sort of help or the lack thereof from the Feds.

Well now aren't you just the sunny personality...Taking a huge loss of life to make your crap laced comments...So tell me Bush would you like some sort of help understanding the differences between Texas and whatever place has allowed you to call it home? And by the way, we are used to "taking care of it, ourselves"...Just don't ask us to help you..

You have no respect. Get out of our country, and for sure our state if youre going to use a tragedy like this to talk bad about our governor, state, and past presidents Mr. "BushSucks"
Go collect your welfare check and move along.

I love you how your oh-so-sincere note of sympathy for all who are involved in the explosion comes after your rant about government and Texas. This was a horrible tragedy, and all you can talk about is your own agenda against Rick Perry. 1) Grow up and keep your asinine comments to yourself. 2) Texas is an amazing state that I am proud to call home. I pray West, TX has all the help they need from wherever it may be from. You are most definitely not worthy of ever being called a Texan. Good day.

This isn't a political debate forum. Calm down. Take your false grief somewhere else. People are hurt in West, and you're concerned about politics. No class

Make sure you change positions at least every 2 hours or you'll develop pressure ulcers from that armchair, son. And how dare you gloat over the death of innocent people, sir. We expect better from an American.

Make sure you change positions at least every 2 hours, or you'll develop pressure ulcers from that armchair, son.

How can u make a comment like this in the midst of this tragedy? Really. As a nurse, I run into ppl like u all the time and it sickens me. We shouldn't be worried about crap like this, we should be more concerned over the sorrow, loss of life....and be an insensitive piece of crap like u.

You sir, are a douche bag. People have been killed, someone's loved one is dead and you want to get on here and show your ass. May the good Lord show as much compassion for you, as you have shown for the residents of West.

...and we will take care of it ourselves moron....

Apparently, accoring to takinthafreeway69, that fertilizer plant should have been buily in Montana - plenty of supply there.

Wow I sure hope Rick Perry asks for federal aid to help out the innocent people of West to get back on their feet. Good thing they didn't secede from the Union after all!

Yeah.....I guess he could ask again even tho during the wild fires Obama denied the aide they requested. I wouldnt blame Texas for seceding from the union at all.

You people are so ignorant. If you don't know the facts, please don't comment about how stupid people from Texas are. The plant was built long before the nursing home, playground, school, apartment complex, etc. were built. Instead of placing blame, why not pray for those affected? This is a terrible accident. The people of West need prayers, not people on here saying how stupid they are.

I have heard that the people on the video are ok. Just tragic.

Look sweetie, a burning fertilizer plant. Lets get a closer look. Well that's at least one dumb Texan.

What if I don't believe in the magical and mystical power of prayer? Can I hope? Can I wish? Can I wonder? Prayer is just so... 1900's.

In times of tragedy, prayers never helped anyone - ever. Sorry to be a spoil sport, but it is really annoying to hear people use the cliche to pray, instead of encouraging people to actually help one another. Prayers only make the person praying feel useful in terrible situations. Resources (money/supplies) and the effort of compassionate people is what this community need in this time of shock and rebuilding.

That was the blast...light travels faster then sound....flash!.... then bang! !..duhh

may be the people that filmed the explosion did that.

Just awful.

I hope that child in the video is okay despite his dad sitting around to video it. Kids are pretty smart, just listen "Dad, PLEASE get out of here!!!"

God Bless those poor folks. And @ Concerned citizen; You are right I remember when every single person here in Texas voted to put that plant there, we all decided it would be just fine. NOT,,, - What is wrong with you?

Please keep us updated on this poor little boy!
Praying the poor guy did not lose his hearing!!

The little kid was a 9 year old girl and she is just fine.Her dad and younger sister were in the truck too and he thought that the school that the oldest girl goes to was on fire. He has said that when he saw that it was closer to the fertilizer plant he was about to move the truck when the explosion happened. She has some soreness in her inner ear but ALL hearing has returned.

Wow, speechless

It is absolutely appalling how this "time bomb" was allowed to be only 200 ft from a playground, 250 from local middle school, 350 to a apartment complex, 500 to a nursing home!! CNN and the rest of the media haven't mentioned the insanity here. City Zoning putting their most vulnerable right next to this industrial complex, that was just a massive accident waiting to happen. (We informed CNN!)

-Nels Wilkins, Jr. and Jeanie Oliver of Helena, Montana.

West is a small town of 2,800 people. The town has no wealth. The buildings and houses were built a long time ago and the town is so small, it has no financial resources to relocate either the plant or the buildings and homes to separate the plant from the public.
Now that you have facts rather than just a hateful imagination, perhaps you will be able to give us your OPINION on how this little blue collar town could have made living with a fertilizer plant safer for their families.
Try kindness.

West is a small town of 2,800 people. The town has no wealth. The buildings and houses were built a long time ago and the town is so small, it has no financial resources to relocate either the plant or the buildings and homes to separate the plant from the public.
Now that you have facts rather than just a hateful imagination, perhaps you will be able to give us your OPINION on how this little blue collar town could have made living with a fertilizer plant safer for their families.
Try kindness.

Pres. Obama offered right away to help Texas residents, as he always does for Americans in trouble. Although many NY & NJersyeans still resent the Texas Reps who voted against releasing SANDY aid to our states, our Reps would never deny help to US citizens. Our government has a Constitutional responsibility to "promote the general welfare" . As to your last question, zoning regulations requiring fertilizer factories to be located far from residential areas would prevent such future disasters.

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