News | Texas

Massive Explosion at Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas Decimates Area


An explosion at a fertilizer plant in West Texas around 7 pm last night leveled a small area taking more than a dozen lives and injuring more than 100, CBSDFW reports,

Residents of the town, with a population of about 2,800, were asked to evacuate immediately after the Wednesday night explosion at the West Fertilizer Company. The plant is located at 1471 Jerry Mashek Drive, just off Interstate-35.  School buses and ambulances were sent to evacuate residents from the area.

Firefighters had been called to the plant to battle a small fire at the plant around 7:29 p.m. Crews were working to bring the blaze under control when the explosion happened around 7:53 p.m.  Firefighters and a police officer who responded to the initial fire are among the missing.

The AP adds that 50 to 75 houses were damaged, including a middle school and a nursing home:

Glenn A. Robinson, the chief executive of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, told the Waco Tribune-Herald the hospital had treated more than 100 people, including 14 who would likely be admitted, but that none had died. He said the injuries included cuts, broken bones and others expected from flying debris. The hospital has set up a hotline for families of the victims to get information, he said.

Robinson told the paper 30 people were also treated at Providence Hospital in Waco, and several others were sent to the burn unit at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. Two children were taken to McLane Children's Hospital in Temple, he said.

Video of the massive explosion from some distance away, AFTER THE JUMP...

Our thoughts go out to all those affected by this terrible tragedy.

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  1. Sorry for the victims and those hurt by this - but it is INSANE to build a plant such as this near residential area.
    No regulation and too much wishful thinking and ignorance leads to tragedy. The owners of this company should be put in the stupid house and prosecuted with reckless disregard.

    Posted by: Kathryn | Apr 18, 2013 7:50:13 AM

  2. What kind of DUMBASS takes his family to view a fire at a fertilizer plant?!

    Posted by: HkFca | Apr 18, 2013 8:01:57 AM

  3. Gee, it's also ridiculous to work in buildings over 100 stories tall without bringing a parachute to work.

    Posted by: MIke | Apr 18, 2013 8:30:39 AM

  4. Kathryn - Are you certain the plant was built after the *surrounding* housing? Usually housing is built around employment, not the other way around. Also, the plant used natural gas a feedstock so it had to be located on a large high-pressure gas line yet I've never seen a house, nursing home, or school which needs a 12-inch gas line at several hundred PSI.

    Posted by: Anastasia Beaverhausen | Apr 18, 2013 8:53:33 AM

  5. msnbc saying death between 5- 15 not sure and about 3 of those are firemen and 1 police officer is missing

    about 150 injured. The numbers may go up b because they are still searching the wreckage

    Posted by: Moz's | Apr 18, 2013 9:05:41 AM

  6. Decimated. Really. It was reduced by 10%. Looks like it was pretty much wiped out to me.

    Posted by: ce | Apr 18, 2013 9:18:19 AM

  7. Shut up, you stupid kid.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 18, 2013 10:12:04 AM

  8. @HkFca: "What kind of DUMBASS takes his family to view a fire at a fertilizer plant?!"

    It's Texas--fertilizer plant fires are like the opera.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 18, 2013 10:13:55 AM

  9. That kid doesn't sound very masculine.

    Posted by: Rick | Apr 18, 2013 10:15:04 AM

  10. Its a girl, you idiot!

    Posted by: mic | Apr 18, 2013 10:20:03 AM

  11. In spite of the idiotic statements made on this thread, it's sad when first responders, especially volunteer fireman, lose their lives in the service of their fellow citizens. My business is only 15 miles north of the explosion site. The post-blast concussive wave was felt by everyone in this area before we knew what caused it. We now mourn for those killed in this tragic event and hope the residents of West can reclaim their lives as soon as possible.

    Posted by: HadenoughBS | Apr 18, 2013 10:30:04 AM

  12. As a troll, I have no problem ridiculing those affected by tragedy. It's because I'm a troll. I literally have nothing else to live for besides riling up other commenters. That's why I come up with other aliases, like Rick, Jason or Ratbastard. I don't have anything better to do with my time.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 18, 2013 10:37:58 AM

  13. I love coming to Towleroad to see what I have written when I wasn't here. Except for the racist and stupid stuff he prints now and then under my name, some of what Kiwi and Derrick post is rather amusing.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 18, 2013 11:51:19 AM

  14. You've got it David, it's KIWI, the biggest coward on the internet. Now watch him go after me.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Apr 18, 2013 2:20:01 PM

  15. I've read that the state of Texas has asked the US Federal Government for disaster relief money. You know, the same US Federal Government that they wanted to secede from.

    Posted by: acorlando | Apr 18, 2013 5:31:46 PM

  16. Whether the plant was built first or the housing doesn't matter, what the hell is up with zoning regulations in Texas? Oh don't tell me, the "all government is bad" folks got their way and weren't told by no gubmint byereekrat where to build what they wanted to.

    Posted by: leprechaunvict | Apr 18, 2013 9:58:49 PM

  17. leprechaunvict - What are you talking about? There is worker housing on the property of Bethlehem Steel. The was a town built around the Hercules dynamite factory outside of San Francisco. Here in Florida you can walk from the residential housing to the phosphate mines as you can in parts of West Virginia's coal mining region.

    Fishermen and farmers live in flood zones.

    Posted by: David Hearne | Apr 18, 2013 10:50:06 PM

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