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April 18, 2013A massive explosion has rocked a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas. Hundreds of people were likely injured, state official says. A nursery home was destroyed by the blast and numerous buildings were damaged.
06:35 GMT: 172 people confirmed hospitalized, 24 people in critical condition, 38-40 people in serious condition and 23 more people en route to be admitted to local hospitals, ABC News reported.
06:29 GMT: Over 100 patients are being treated in two local hospitals, according to media reports.
06:20 GMT: All roads around the impact zone are blocked off, except to emergency vehicles, NBC reported.
06:10 GMT: Fire is believed to have started in an anhydrous ammonia tank before it spread to the rest of the plant buildings, local media reported.
06:06 GMT: Mayor of West Tommy Muska told residents to stay inside because of the hydrous gas in the air.
05:25 GMT: “Probably over 100 injuries,” while the number of fatalities remains unknown, says DPS' DL Wilson.
05:21 GMT: According to the DPS, they may have to evacuate the other side of town when the north wind comes through.
05:17 GMT: USGS registered the fertilizer plant explosion as a 2.1 magnitude quake.
05:15 GMT: Rescue services request that no more volunteers come to the scene to join the effort, since they would only impede the operation.
05:06 GMT: Plant is still smoldering, firefighters have difficulties getting to it to extinguish the remaining fires. Toxic fumes are rising from the site, says Department of Public Safety.
05:06 GMT: The apartment complex most affected by the disaster is “a skeleton” with 50 to 75 residences damaged. Rescuers are doing house-to-house search for victims, DPS says.
05:04 GMT: The 133 people from the nursing home were evacuated and taken to local hospitals, Department of Public Safety reports.
04:58 GMT: Most of the firefighter team that immediately responded to the fire at the chemical plant is unaccounted for, West’s mayor says. Four to five of them are missing.
04:55 GMT: The Texas explosion injured at least 200 people, 40 of them critically, Department of Public Safety spokesperson says, according to ABC.
04:43 GMT: HazMat squads have been deployed in the area to analyze the environment forpossible toxins.
04:42 GMT: A nursing home and a middle school reportedly caught on fire. Thankfully, the school was out of session.
04:34 GMT: People are coordinating the relief effort over Twitter, compiling a list of those willing toprovide housing to those who lost their homes in the explosion. There are also calls to donate blood to local hospitals.
4:21 GMT: "It was like a bomb went off" - West Mayor.
4:20 GMT: Approximately 50 homes, one school, an apartment complex and a nursing home have been completely leveled.
4:18 GMT: KWTX reporter tells KHOU that the town of West is being evacuated partly for fear of toxic fumes currently spread around the area.
4:15 GMT: The Mayor of West says the fire is under control.
4:10 GMT: @Newyorkist says Houston's KHOU station removed its tweet claiming that 70 people were confirmed dead in the Texas explosion.
4:08 GMT: West, Texas Mayor Tommy Muska tells NBC he had no information on exact casualty numbers as of 12:05 EST, but that the plant was "fully engulfed" in flames before it exploded.
4:00 GMT: Sixty-one people have been admitted to the Hilcrest Hospital in Waco. Twelve currently are in critical condition, said Hiclrest's CEO to CNN.
3:48 GMT: Law enforcement is advising residents in West to leave town immediately for fear of secondary explosion at fertilizer plant.
3:40 GMT: 70 people are believed to be be dead, including five firefighters and one police officer. The FAA has placed a temporary flight restriction over the surrounding airspace.
3:35 GMT: Dr. George Smith, Director of West EMS, told KWTX he believes there are between 60 and 70 people dead.
3:34 GMT: Between 75-100 homes and businesses have been completely destroyed with the number injured exceeding 200, as per ABC News.
3:30 GMT: The football field that was being used as an emergency command center and helicopter landing pad has been evacuated due to fears of a second explosion.