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Thread: Waco TX Fertilizer Plant Explosion Sends 120 to Hospitals, Levels Homes, Businesses

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    Elite Member HWBL's Avatar
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    Default Waco TX Fertilizer Plant Explosion Sends 120 to Hospitals, Levels Homes, Businesses

    Source: ABC News

    Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Sends 120 to Hospitals, Levels Homes, Businesses


    Fiery explosions at a Texas fertilizer plant in a small town north of Waco sent about 120 people to hospitals and apparently destroyed dozens of homes and businesses.

    Area hospitals reported treating slightly more than 120 people injured by the West, Texas, blasts.

    Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Gail Scarborough had earlier put the number of injured near the plant even higher -- 200 people, 40 of them critically.

    Another official with the Texas Department of Public Safety said there were deaths, though he did not immediately know how many. ABC News has not confirmed any deaths.

    Besides the injuries, 75 to 100 houses and business were completely destroyed in and around the plant, Scarborough said.

    "It's total chaos," West City Councilwoman Cheryl Marak said, according to ABC News Radio. "There's ambulances and fire trucks and police cars from everywhere."

    An official with Hill Regional Hospital in Hillsboro, Texas, reported the facility treated 66 patients, 38 with serious injuries.

    Baptist Hillcrest Medical Center in Waco had treated 29 wounded, said the center's CEO, Brett Esrock, and was expecting 20 more.

    "They are coming in ambulances cars, vans, pretty much anything," Esrock said.

    Most of Baptist Hillcrest's patients had minor-to-moderate injuries such as cuts, abrasions, broken bones and respiratory distress -- though there was at least one critical injury, Esrock said.

    Marak told ABC News affiliate WFAA that the blast killed her pets and heavily damaged the local middle school.

    "I was watching the flames and then it was just like a huge, huge explosion and two houses, I mean, it demolished both of those," Marak said, according to ABC News Radio. "I think everything around us is pretty much just gone."

    Keith Williams, a local resident, said his house also was completely destroyed, according to ABC News Radio.

    "All the ceilings are out," Williams said. "The windows are out. The brick's knocked off the house. My big garage out back is half blowed in."

    He also saw "people with all their houses tore up across the street from me, on each side of me."

    The West Fertilizer Plant exploded around 8 p.m. local time, and there were subsequent explosions around 10 p.m., WFAA reported. The cause of the explosions was unconfirmed, but a dispatcher was heard warning crews to move away from chemicals in unexploded tanks.

    Firefighters initially went to the scene of a structure fire at the plant.

    "They are still on scene, assessing the scene, treating the injuries, taking injured to the hospitals," Dani Moore, a spokeswoman for State Highway Patrol told ABC News Radio.

    At least 10 buildings in the town of West were on fire, including a school located next to the plant, WFAA reported initially.

    The town of West has a population of about 2,800.
    Source: CBS Local


    Dozens Killed, Hundreds Injured In Fertilizer Plant Explosion

    WACO (CBSDFW.COM) - A fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West, north of Waco, has killed as many as 70 people and injured hundreds. However, no official numbers have been released.

    Meanwhile, the residents of the town of 2,700 are being asked to evacuate due to ammonia fumes after the explosion of West Fertilizer. The plant is located at 1471 Jerry Mashek Drive, just off Interstate-35. School buses and ambulances are being used to evacuate residents from the area.

    Firefighters had been called to the plant to battle a small fire around 7 p.m. Crews were working to bring the blaze under control when the explosion happened around 7:50 p.m.

    Emergency crews from central and north Texas have been called in to help respond to the injuries and destruction from the explosion. Into the early morning hours Thursday the plant was still smoldering and active ingredients were still inside. The situation is still too volatile to have firefighters try and battle any flames.

    Trooper D.L. Wilson of the Texas Department of Public Safety estimates that as many as 75 homes were severely damaged and an apartment complex with 50 units was gutted by the blast. West EMS Director Dr. George Smith said, ““We’ve got a lot of houses on one street especially there that look like a war zone. They’ve been collapsed, so there may be people inside those houses, either critically injured or deceased.

    Tommy Muska, West’s mayor, said at a news conference three hours after the explosion that buildings in a five-block radius from the plant were severely damaged by the explosion. Among them was the West Rest Haven Nursing Home, a location where first-responders evacuated 133 patients, some in wheelchairs. “We did get there and got that taken care of,” Muska said.

    Trooper Wilson said said 133 patients from the nearby nursing home were evacuated. He could not comment on the extent of any patient injuries, but says all patients have been evacuated from the building.

    Dr. Smith said he saw the initial fire and became concerned. “When I saw the fire I went to the nursing home, because I knew there were hazardous chemicals [in the plant], and I helped the nursing home personnel move them [residents] away from the area close to the explosion.” Then the doctor said there was chaos. “It exploded while I was in the nursing home. I had debris and glass windows all over me… had to get out of there myself,” he said. “Luckily we had got most of the residents on the other side. Hopefully I think that saved some lives.”

    The hotline number (254) 202-1100 has been set up at Hillcrest Hospital for family and friends to check on loved ones.

    Dr. Smith said some 66 people were taken to Hillcrest Hospital and several others to Providence. Smith said the patients being admitted ranged in age from babies to elderly.

    Triage was initially set up at the local high school football field, however it was moved to a nearby softball field because of a strong odor in the area.

    CBS 11′s Brian New reports there are dozens of ambulances lined up at the triage area.

    Information was hard to come by in the hours after the blast, with even Governor Rick Perry saying state officials were waiting for details about the extent of the damage.

    “We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident,” Perry said in a statement. “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.”

    Aerial footage showed fires still smoldering in the ruins of the plant and in several surrounding buildings, and people being treated for injuries on a flood-lit local football field, which had been turned into a staging area for emergency responders.

    A woman passing through West on Interstate-35 at the tie of the explosion told CBS 11 News she saw a fireball 100-feet wide shoot into the air.

    USGS says the blast was the equivalent of a 2.1 magnitude earthquake.

    West Fertilizer has been in business for decades, selling fertilizer to farmers between Hillsboro and Waco.

    American Red Cross crews from across Texas were being sent to the site, the organization said. Red Cross spokeswoman Anita Foster said the group was working with emergency management officials in West to find a safe shelter for residents displaced from their homes. She said teams from Austin to Dallas and elsewhere are being sent to the community north of Waco.

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    Devastating. Those poor people and their families.

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    Jesus those poor people, they're saying on our news that scores are believed to be dead including firefighters who were trying to put the initial fires out.
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    Awful. I hope our GR members from Texas are ok.

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    I'm watching PBS/Fox/CNN (the only live US 'news' available here) and yet again every vague rumour is being reported as fact. I know people need to know but this constant feed of unverified 'scoops' which then have to be retracted or corrected just makes me turn off because they are unprofessional idiots.

    The pics I've seen are terrifying and I'm sure there will be many victims. Prayers with them all.
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    What a horrible thing. It looks terrible. And yep, firefighters are missing - amongst many others. The pictures are just horrific. I don't think any of our posters are from that area, but Lord help those folks that are from that area.
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    The mayor I think knew his friends were dead. He remains stoic, no choice right now really. Thes people are mostly Czech. close knit. Fabulous bakeries, worldclass pasteries. I would always stop there on my way to Waco for my work.
    Friendly laughing people you all would love. It hurts to think they must suffer through this.
    Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. I know right now they are all scattered about and worried about each other.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarzy View Post
    Awful. I hope our GR members from Texas are ok.
    The city of West is right outside of Waco, halfway between Dallas and Austin. Any Texas GR members from that area? *prays all are safe*

    Here's a link to a slideshow of the fire.

    5 to 15 killed, 160 wounded in 'devastating' Texas chemical plant blast - U.S. News
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    holy crap, that's awful.
    what i want to know is, why the fuck was there a chemical plant so lose to a residential area? it's not like texas lacks wide open space, you'd think they'd have built that way out in the middle of nowhere...

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    Praying for all involved. Fertilizer is highly dangerous right so yeah why was it in the middle of everything? Did the city just build up around it?
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    Quote Originally Posted by sputnik View Post
    holy crap, that's awful.
    what i want to know is, why the fuck was there a chemical plant so lose to a residential area? it's not like texas lacks wide open space, you'd think they'd have built that way out in the middle of nowhere...


    I grew up around plants and refineries and there were houses literally across the street. Usually, the companies would try to buy up the residential lots though, but then you have people who have the whole "Mah family lived here for years and we ain't leavin'!"

    Did you see the movie Silkwood? Go look at that scene where she goes home to visit her family in southeast Texas and it looks like a refinery is in their back yard. That's how close some of those houses are to plants.

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    Then there ought to have been some sort of siren in the town when the fire started like the kind they have to warn of tornadoes. People could have evacuated before it blew.
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    Maybe and maybe not, Twitchy. Sadly, explosions like this in a plant or refinery, are so sudden that there can't always be a warning.

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    There typically ARE sirens, Twitch. Doesn't mean everyone evacuates. I lived in Pasadena for a while and we were within a few miles of some of the chemical plants. The fact IS that IF those fuckers blow, you will never be able to get far enough away based on a siren. I've worked in those plants - Exxon refinery in Baytown, in particular - where we've been evacuated by foot and my boss is telling us that we'd never make it out of the parking lot and "when we're evacuated like this, it's because we are within 2 minutes of an actual disaster".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mel1973 View Post
    There typically ARE sirens, Twitch. Doesn't mean everyone evacuates. I lived in Pasadena for a while and we were within a few miles of some of the chemical plants. The fact IS that IF those fuckers blow, you will never be able to get far enough away based on a siren. I've worked in those plants - Exxon refinery in Baytown, in particular - where we've been evacuated by foot and my boss is telling us that we'd never make it out of the parking lot and "when we're evacuated like this, it's because we are within 2 minutes of an actual disaster".
    Oh, you lived in "Stinkadena"?! That's what we called it over in Houston! Yep, there's always that element of danger when working in those environments and your boss was right: one never makes it out of the parking lot in a major explosion.

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