Several feared dead in massive Texas plant explosion

Police in Texas say between five and 15 people were killed in a fertilizer plant explosion that also injured more than 160 others.

Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said early Thursday morning that the death toll is only an estimate as search and rescue operations remain under way in downtown West.

An explosion Wednesday night shook the ground with the strength of a small earthquake in the community of 2,800 people located about 20 miles north of Waco.

A member of the city council, Al Vanek, says a four-block area was "totally decimated." The mayor of West says some firefighters who had been battling a plant fire before the explosion are still unaccounted for.

The explosion was so strong it could be felt from 45 miles away, and sent flames shooting high into the night sky, raining burning embers, shrapnel and debris.

Triage was set up on a nearby high school football field, but it was evacuated quickly as a precaution in case of a second explosion.

Swanton says there is no indication the blast was anything other than an industrial accident.


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