‘Like a nuclear bomb’ – Deadly fertilizer plant blast devastates Texas town; at least 15 dead

April 18, 2013WACO, TXAs the sun rose Thursday over West, Texas, the scope of the small town’s devastation came into fuller view: a gruesome, bloody scene, homes flattened to rubble, and scores of firefighters battling a raging blaze. The massive, deadly blast at a fertilizer plant Wednesday night forced the evacuation of about half the town of about 2,800 people and left officials asking key questions: Was it a crime or an accident? How could it have happened? “Nothing at this point indicates we have had criminal activity, but we are not ruling that out,” said Sgt. William Patrick Swanton of the nearby Waco Police Department. A more immediate question is how high the death toll will rise. It could be between five and 15, Swanton said. Dr. George Smith, the city’s emergency management system director, said it could spike to 60 or 70. The mayor in Texas said it was, ‘like a nuclear bomb.’ “We have two EMS personnel that are dead for sure, and there may be three firefighters that are dead,” Smith said. “There are a lot of people that will not be here tomorrow,” Mayor Tommy Muska warned late Wednesday. The Texas National Guard has sent 21 troops from a civil support team to monitor air quality near the blast, the Pentagon announced Thursday. The White House said it is monitoring the situation through FEMA, which is in touch with state and local authorities. Federal authorities stand ready to help, a FEMA official said. More than 160 people were injured when the explosion shook homes as far as 50 miles away. It measured as a 2.1-magnitude seismic event, according to the United States Geological Survey. “It’s over-whelming to us,” Smith told CNN affiliate KCEN, with blood spattered all over his face from injuries he suffered. The town has only three ambulances, he said. Between 50 and 60 homes in a five-block area suffered damage, officials said. The explosion rocked the West Fertilizer Co. at about 7:50 p.m. (8:50 p.m. ET). Patients were rushed to several hospitals. Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center reported five patients in intensive care — two in critical condition, three in serious condition. At least 28 patients will be admitted, said hospital Chief Glenn Robinson. About half the community was evacuated, Muska said. “It was like a nuclear bomb went off,” he said of the blast. “Big old mushroom cloud. (It’s) massive — just like Iraq. Just like the Murrah (Federal) Building in Oklahoma City,” said D.L. Wilson of the Texas public safety department. The blast stripped a nearby apartment complex, with 50 units, of its walls and windows. “It was just a skeleton standing up,” Wilson said. A nursing home, with 133 residents, was quickly evacuated. A middle school also is located near the plant. –CNN


Fireballs over Waco, Tx: (Left) Fertilizer fire explosion on April 18 and (right) the Branch Davidian compound goes up in smoke on April 19. Officials say initial reports indicate today’s explosion was nothing more than an industrial accident; though the incident,   after the Boston bombs, will continue to fuel fears and concerns domestic terror incidents are escalating in the U.S.
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21 Responses to ‘Like a nuclear bomb’ – Deadly fertilizer plant blast devastates Texas town; at least 15 dead

  1. choagland says:

    Thank God it happened at night when the schools and play grounds were empty. Go to google maps and you can see how close they were to the plant


    • Betsy Weggesser says:

      My question is…. Why would they have Schools and nursing homes and neighborhoods built so close to these dangerous chemical plants ???


  2. choagland says:

    West Fertilizer Co, Waco, Jerry Mashek Drive, West, TX


  3. Michele Lewis says:

    Wow! This is the first I’ve heard of it.


  4. Betsy Weggesser says:



  5. Lisa M. says:

    We are 20 miles from this and heard the explosion. It was loud! Funny thing is we didn’t feel any shaking yet people futher away did.


  6. Harsh says:

    West, Tx is in close proximity to Waco and about twenty miles from where the Branch Davidian Compound burned down twenty years ago tomorrow, 04/19/2013, and my first thought when I heard about this was that this is a deliberate act by someone or someones as yet unknown. I’m just saying, I don’t believe in coincidences, and I’m wondering if the authorities have considered this possibility. In fact, wasn’t the fertilizer a component of the bomb McVeigh used to blow up the Murrah Federal building in OKC? What if the factory was set on fire to cover up a theft of the bomb making supplies? Is another bombing in the offing? Maybe they were in the process of robbing the place when it blew up in (unknown persons) faces, literally? Something stinks about this, but what a tragedy, regardless of the cause. I hope no one finds my speculation offensive, my prayers are for the victims and their families.


  7. today is still the 18th isn’t it?
    Fertilizer fire explosion on April 18 and (right) the Branch Davidian compound goes up in smoke on April 19


  8. radiogirl says:

    So close to home………my husband was a fireman in his earlier years….it is especially sad to lose our earthly angels.Alvin if I haven’t told you lately….Thank You,R


  9. Belinda says:

    Texas has a fault line that runs up to that area.


  10. Spit says:

    Anybody remember what happen in Waco years ago… Poor people going through a rough tragedy!


  11. Attacus says:

    First thing that sprung to mind was what the heck was the plant doing so close to town, but I’m not sure how close it actually is, with such a potentially dangerous chemical they really should of been way away from any type of settlements.

    I’m sure they’ll know better in future, just a shame these things have to happen before people realize the danger :\


  12. deniseandros says:

    I have a sneaking suspicion that there is more to this explosion than we are being told. Or maybe it’s my paranoid mind; I’m suspicious of everything these days.


  13. nanoduck says:

    There was an explosion in Cherokee, Alabama not too long ago. It was a nitrogen plant and it blew up in November. Only one person was injured I believe, but people heard and felt the explosion 20 miles away. Wonder what is up with all the fertilizer and nitrogen plants blowing up???


  14. Fernalea says:

    Is this merely coincidental that this explosion occurred within 2 days of the 20th anniversary of the Branch Davidian disaster in Waco (ended April 19, 1993 in a fiery disaster after a 50-day standoff), and the April 19, 1995 the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City? My prayers go out to the families in West, Texas today.


  15. Dennis E. says:

    There is a report on the internet that this company had filed a law suit against Monsanto-manufacturer of Genetic modified foods–may not have been an accident……….some have speculated?


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