Published on April 18th, 2013 | by Kennedy Ray
Massive Explosion At Fertilizer Plant Waco, TX (Live Stream)
A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant rocked the town of West, north of Waco, causing multiple casualties and leaving people trapped and buildings on fire. Texas Dept. of Public Safety says multiple casualties and injuries, major damage to homes. The explosion at West Fertilizer in West, happened shortly before 8 p.m. and could be heard as far away as Waxahachie, 45 miles to the north.
Authorities did not have an official toll at 2 a.m. Officials did say they expected to find more bodies as they continued to search the area.
Al Vanek, member of the city council stated that there is a four-block area around the explosion “that is totally decimated.” The damage was comparable to the destruction caused by the 1995 bomb blast that destroyed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
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A school and a nursing home are among the buildings near the plant. “It was like a bomb went off,” said Barry Murry, a resident who lives about a mile away from the plant. “There were emergency vehicles everywhere. It has been overwhelming.”
Firefighters are desperately battling to rescue people still thought to be trapped and a number of firefighters are reported missing. Shortly after the massive explosion, more than 60 patients streamed into Hillcrest Hospital in Waco, suffering from “blast injuries, orthopedic injuries and a lot of lacerations. Aerial footage showed injured people being treated on a football field that had been turned into a staging area. Rescue efforts have been hampered due to hazardous chemicals in the air following the explosion. First responders were seen wearing respirators to protect themselves.
Firefighters at the scene of a fertilizer plant explosion in Texas were concerned Wednesday night about anhydrous ammonia. Anhydrous ammonia is a pungent gas with suffocating fumes that is used as a fertilizer. It can rapidly cause dehydration and severe burns if it combines with water in the body.
• Symptoms can include breathing difficulty; irritation of the eyes, nose or throat; burns or blisters.
• Exposure to high concentrations can lead to death.
• Victims require treatment with large quantities of water for at least 15 minutes
The West Fertilizer Inc plant was cited in 2006 by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for failing to obtain or qualify for a permit, after the agency received a complaint of a strong smell of ammonia.
Texas regulators knew in 2006 that the fertilizer facility that burned and exploded Wednesday night had two 12,000-gallon tanks of anhydrous ammonia and was near a school and neighborhood, according to documents. In late 2006 or early 2007, a state environmental inspector saw the nearby homes and schools while reviewing a separate permit for a sister company, Adair Grain Inc., located at the same site as West Fertilizer. Here is the official summary of his findings from a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality permit document:
The regional investigator described the area surrounding the facility as residential and farm land. There are two schools located within 3000 ft of this facility, however, the impact potential is described by the region [regional TCEQ office] as low. The nearest off property receptor, a residence, is 350 ft from the plant.
More Updates as they come in..
A member on GLP just found out, that one of the largest emergency preparedness drills ever held in the state of Texas was just set up on April, 16th 2013 at North Hills Hospital in Ft. Worth, TX. The location is about an hour away from Waco,TX.
North Hills Hospital is proud to be hosting one of the largest emergency preparedness drills ever held in the state of Texas this week. We will be partnering with the North Central Texas Trauma Regional Advisory Council (NCTTRAC) and first responders from throughout North Texas to test our equipment and processes so that when a real disaster happens, we’re all ready to respond.
If you live near North Hills Hospital, you will see a lot of activity in our parking lots over the next three days as the NCTTRAC sets up a mobile 140-bed hospital, along with dozens of ambulances, several AMBUS (multi-patient ambulances), and helicopters. This is only a drill and will simulate a hospital evacuation, something that might be necessary in the event of a tornado, hurricane, earthquake, or prolonged power failure.