Explosion leaves thousands displaced, many injured
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 30, 2013 - 12:28pm
West, TX (KWKT) —
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.