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West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Injures 200
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An exploding inferno blasted out of a Texas fertilizer plant in the small town of West, around 8 p.m., Wednesday night, some 19 miles from Waco, that has injured 200 people, 40 of whom are critically injured, and meanwhile blown up, leveled, or reduced to skeletons nearly 100 houses and businesses nearby. The incredible loom of smoke from the blast, which may have been caused by the same sort of fertilizers that were used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing – Ammonium Nitrate – made an ominous mark in the sky, but unlike Oklahoma city, may be a complete accident – though at this point Texas officials are not talking about the cause of the massive explosion.

So far three are confirmed dead, though the figure may be much larger than that; and six firefighters were missing as of Wednesday night. The small town of West only has 2,800 citizens, and it is imagined that not a single one of them could avoid being deeply involved with somebody who was either injured or killed in the blast.


“It’s total chaos,” said West City Councilwoman Cheryl Marak. “There’s ambulances and fire trucks and police cars from everywhere. I was watching the flames and then it was just like a huge, huge explosion and two houses, I mean, it demolished those places,” she said to ABC News Radio. “I think everything around us is pretty much just gone.”

Such stories of complete devastation are common among the town now, as whole houses have been leveled. A nursing home had to be evacuated of 131 people that were close to the blast, and 60-80 homes in the nearby 5-mile radius were either destroyed or badly damaged. “There’s going to be casualties,” said West Mayor Tommy Muska.

Coming so soon after the Boston explosion, the not-rightness of the situation seems especially palpable, and in both we are uncertain as to the exact cause.

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Image Credit: Andy Bartee / McClatchy-Tribune



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