Texas: Fertilizer plant blast injures hundreds

An explosion from a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas (north of Waco) on Wednesday left hundreds injured and some trapped in buildings. A nursing home, a middle school and private homes were among the buildings damaged in the subsequent blaze.

AP Photo/ Waco Tribune Herald, Rod Aydelotte
A person looks on as emergency workers fight a house fire after a near by fertilizer plant exploded Wednesday, April 17, 2013, in West, Texas.

Hundreds of people were likely injured in a fiery explosion on Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas, that damaged or destroyed numerous buildings including a nursing home, authorities said.

The blast was reported at about 8 p.m. CDT (0100 GMT on Thursday) in West, a town of some 2,700 people about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south of Dallas and 20 miles (32 km) north of Waco.

A spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, D.L. Wilson, told Reuters the blast had probably caused "hundreds of casualties" and damaged many homes.

He added that a nearby nursing home collapsed from the explosion and that people were believed trapped inside.

A Reuters reporter observed that a middle school and several homes in the area appeared to have been severely burned.

More than 100 people injured in the blast and fire were being taken to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, said vice president of hospital operations David Argueta.

Hillcrest CEO Glenn Robinson told CNN that the hospital was seeing "everything from orthopedic injuries to patients that are experiencing serious blood loss."

Governor Rick Perry issued a statement saying his office had "mobilized state resources to help local authorities" deal with the incident.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman, Tim Gaynor and David Bailey; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Xavier Briand)

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