Thursday, April 18, 2013

BREAKING: Huge Explosion at TX Fertilizer Plant; 5-15 Reported Dead, Number Expected to Rise; 160+ Injured

From:  BradBlog

by Brad Friedman 

UPDATES: DPS spokes: 'Devastation like OK City'; Death toll unclear; 5 firefighters, 1 police officer said among dead; Video of explosion
MORE: West Fertilizer Co. had self-reported to EPA, local safety officials: 'No risk of fire or explosion at plant'...
COMMENT - The plant is very close to Clifford, Texas and so to the Lone Star Iconoclast, for which I write.  The Lone Star was the courageous paper which jumped the fence in 2004 and endorsed Kerry over Bush, even though it was the home town paper for Bush, whose home was located in Crawford, Texas. 

The Editorial, produced by the Lone Star outlined, in detail, the issues which made an 'anyone but Bush,' vote so very attractive. 

Leon, The Lone Star's owner and editor, reported this morning, bodies are still being counted. 

UPDATE 4/18/13 3:23am PT: Waco's KWTX has revised their earlier report of "as many as 60 or 70" dead, which was sourced to the town's EMS Director Dr. George Smith. They now report a death toll of "five to fifteen people", as of 4:45am local time, sourced to "officials". AP confirms the report of "between five and 15 people" killed, a number which is expected to rise, according to Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton. They add that "more than 160 others" are injured. Among the dead are believed to be "A group of volunteer firefighters and a single law enforcement officer who responded to a fire call at the West Fertilizer Co. about an hour before the blast. They remained unaccounted for early Thursday morning."
* * *
UPDATE 10:30pm PT: Randy Lee Loftis at Dallas Morning News reports...
The fertilizer plant that exploded Wednesday night in West, Texas, reported to the Environmental Protection Agency and local public safety officials that it presented no risk of fire or explosion, documents show. West Fertilizer Co. reported having as much as 54,000 pounds of anhydrous ammonia on hand in an emergency planning report required of facilities that use toxic or hazardous chemicals.
But the report, reviewed Wednesday night by The Dallas Morning News, stated “no” under fire or explosive risks. The worst possible scenario, the report said, would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one.
The second worst possibility projected was a leak from a broken hose used to transfer the product, again causing no injuries.
Loftis adds via Twitter: "OSHA online records show no federal inspections of #West Fertilizer Co. in the past 5 yrs."
UPDATE 10:10pm PT: Texas Dept. of Public Safety spokesperson holds short press conference: "Tremendous amount of injuries...There are confirmed fatalities. Number not confirmed yet ... Devastation like Iraq or Oklahoma City ... 50-75 houses and apartments destroyed... Nursing home w/ 130 residents was in path of fire ... Wish I could tell you more." A reporter asks for a death toll number, asks the spokesman to "confirm 60-70" number. He says he "cannot confirm that number."
UPDATE 9:44pm PT: Dallas NBC affiliates live coverage cannot confirm death toll reported by Waco's KWTX below, but says 200+ injured, "at least 40 critically" at this moment.
UPDATE 8:59pm PT: Really hoping local media has it wrong... Waco's KWTX is now reporting: "West EMS Director Dr. George Smith says as many as 60 or 70 people died and hundreds were injured Wednesday night in a fertilizer plant explosion in West."
KHOU 11 News Houston is reporting "5 firefighters & 1 police officer" among the dead. They add: "Hundreds of others are wounded in the town with a population of about 2,800."
Amazing video of blast added to top: [More UPDATES at bottom of article]...

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