Dangerous scene remains at Texas fertilizer explosion site | News | DW | 18.04.2013
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Dangerous scene remains at Texas fertilizer explosion site

The situation remains volatile at a Texas fertilizer plant, with ammonium nitrate still present, a police spokesman said. Rescuers have found no sign of survivors thus far in their search, said the mayor of West, Texas.

The remains of a fertilizer plant smolders after a massive explosion in the town of West, near Waco, Texas April 18, 2013. The deadly explosion ripped through the fertilizer plant late on Wednesday, injuring more than 100 people, leveling dozens of homes and damaging other buildings including a school and nursing home, authorities said. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT AGRICULTURE)

Texas Explosion in Düngemittelfabrik

Authorities gave no new estimate of casualties, put at between five and 15. Mayor Tommy Muska told CNN that the search for survivors continued as crews go building-to-building looking for any sign of life amid dozens of destroyed homes and businesses.

"I ask for your prayers," Muska said, according to the Dallas television station WFAA.

The blast occurred at about 7:50 p.m. local time on Wednesday, some 50 minutes after first responders were said to have arrived at the scene of the reported initial fire. The explosion in West, some 130 kilometers (80 miles) south of Dallas and 32 kilometers north of Waco, was heard over a wide area and sent flames and embers high into the night sky. The effect was variously described as having been like a tornado or earthquake.

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video footage of the explosion

In addition to the fatalities, some 160 people are reported to have been injured. Police are keeping an open mind about the cause of the blast. A group of firefighters and one law enforcement officer who responded to a fire call at the plant were among those who remained unaccounted for.

"At some point this will turn into a recovery operation, but at this point, we are still in search and rescue," said Swanton.

mkg/slk (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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