Thursday, April 18, 2013
Texas EMS Director Says "As Many as 60 to 70 People Dead" in Massive Explosion
A fire in a fertilizer plant in West- Texas triggered a massive ammonium nitrate explosion around 7:53 pm Wednesday evening- damaging or destroying parts of the town of more than 2800 people.
(The following video is courtesy of Mr. Derrick Hurtt of West who- with his daughter Khloey- were videoing from a position several blocks away from the fertilizer company when the explosion occurred.)
(The next video is courtesy of Mr. David Schechter- also of West. The Schechters lived in the southern part of West- videoed the blast's mushroom cloud (Part 1)- then responded to the disaster scene minutes after the explosion.)
However- according to KWTX-10 TV in Waco- the EMS Director of West said "as many as 60 to 70 people were dead" in West.
By Thursday night- 24 hours after the explosion- people in command of the situation in West TX continue to refuse to issue any death count.
News media reports at that time were giving numbers of 10 to 15 fatalities.
By Friday evening- the "official" number was given as "14" died in the blast.
Around 40 people were still unaccounted for Thursday night.
The number of people injured in the blast was established Thursday night at 200- with several of those victims still in critical condition.
As many as 75 homes were destroyed- other structures devastated by the blast included an elderly care facility- an apartment building and a middle school.
The high school suffered wall- window- roof and probably structural damage as well by the explosion's massive shockwave.
West is about 25 miles north of Waco.
At least "6 to 7 firefighters" of the all-volunteer West Fire department who were fighting the fire were "unaccounted for-" according to WacoTrib.com.
Later Thursday- West Mayor Tommy Muska told CNN that "seven firefighters and two others" at the plant were killed.
One of those deaths was an off-duty Dallas Fire department Captain Kenny Harris- who lived in West and was helping at the fire.
Early Thursday- a Facebook page was established for condolences to West first responders and residents.
At least one West police officer was also reported unaccounted for early Thursday morning.
That officer was later found badly injured but alive at a hospital.