Police: Unclear how many trapped after Texas blast

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

UPDATE 1:46 p.m.

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers are getting involved in efforts to help in the aftermath of a fertilizer plant explosion.

Rangers officials say donations of essential items for the victims and residents of West will be accepted before each of game of their series against Seattle, from Friday through Sunday. There will also be a blood drive at the stadium Sunday.

The town of West is less than 90 miles south of Rangers Ballpark.

Among the most requested items are diapers, water bottles, gift cards for grocery stores or home supply stores, toilet paper, non-perishable food items and clothing. Cash donations will also be accepted for relief efforts.

The team is also sending its new Sportservice Food Truck to West on Friday to make donations of food and water to residents.

UPDATE 12:37 p.m.

WEST, Texas (AP) -- Witnesses are describing the impact of the explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas that left as many as 15 people dead and more than 160 others injured.

Erick Perez was playing basketball at a nearby middle school yesterday evening when a fire started at the plant. He says he and his friends thought nothing of it, but then the smoke changed color. He says the blast threw him, his nephew and others to the ground, and showered the area with hot embers and debris.

Julie Zahirniako had been with her son at the school playground. She says the explosion threw her son four feet in the air, breaking his ribs.

She says she saw people running from a nearby nursing home, and that the roof of the school lifted into the sky.

The nursing home was also badly damaged. One man who arrived there before the first responders says he and his wife found residents in wheelchairs trapped in their rooms, amid dark hallways and ceilings that had collapsed.

UPDATE 8:14 a.m.

WEST, Texas (AP) -- Police in Texas say it's not clear how many people remain trapped in the rubble after a fertilizer plant explosion that killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160 others.

Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton says early Thursday he doesn't know how many people have been rescued since the Wednesday night explosion in downtown West.

But he says officials on the ground remain in "search and rescue mode," going building to building in the largely decimated neighborhood surrounding the plant.

He says he knows some firefighters still are missing.

Swanton says a thunderstorm that rolled through the area early Thursday has helped in some ways, including tamping down chemicals released from the plant.

ORIGINAL STORY

WEST, Texas (AP) -- 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.

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


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