Mass Casualties In Texas Blast

, Posted in U.S. & World News, Posted: Thu, April 18 2013 at 11:35 AM, Updated: Thu, April 18 2013 at 11:40 AM

West, Tex.

Rescue crews are searching for survivors after a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas.

The explosion occurred as firefighters were responding to an initial fire at the plant.

The blast was so strong it extended out into the community that surrounds the plant.

Officials say as many as 15 people are dead and more than 160 more are injured.

"There is a significant area around the plant that has been destroyed, homes have been destroyed, homes flattened, part of that community is gone," said Waco Police Sgt. Patrick Swanton.

Several firefighters battling the initial blaze were caught up in the blast and are now missing.

The blast destroyed a four block area around the plant that included 50 to 75 homes, an apartment complex and nursing home which was being evacuated.

West, Texas is a small town of about 2,800 people, where residents describe the community as "family".

There is no word yet on what started the initial fire.

Nothing indicates the fire was intentionally set, but they are not ruling that out.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms' national elite response team has been called in to investigate.

Incident Location

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