News / USA

Texas Governor: Fertilizer Explosion a 'Nightmare Scenario'

Firefighter conduct a search and rescue operation at an apartment destroyed by an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, April 18, 2013.
Firefighter conduct a search and rescue operation at an apartment destroyed by an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, April 18, 2013.
VOA News
Texas Governor Rick Perry is calling Wednesday's deadly fertilizer plant explosion "a truly nightmare scenario."

Rescue workers are searching still smoldering ruins for survivors of the explosion that leveled homes and businesses in the town of West.  

Police said it is not clear how many people remain trapped in the rubble, but said as many as 15 people may be dead, more than 160 injured. Several are missing.

Police said responders are still in the "search and rescue'' phase, as they go house to house. About 80 houses within a five-block radius were either heavily damaged or destroyed.

Gov. Rick Perry (C) speaks during a news conference updating information about the state's emergency response to the explosion and fires in West, Texas, April 18, 2013, in Austin, Texas.Gov. Rick Perry (C) speaks during a news conference updating information about the state's emergency response to the explosion and fires in West, Texas, April 18, 2013, in Austin, Texas.
x
Gov. Rick Perry (C) speaks during a news conference updating information about the state's emergency response to the explosion and fires in West, Texas, April 18, 2013, in Austin, Texas.
Gov. Rick Perry (C) speaks during a news conference updating information about the state's emergency response to the explosion and fires in West, Texas, April 18, 2013, in Austin, Texas.
During a news conference, Governor Perry said much of the information about victims remains "very preliminary." He said U.S. President Barack Obama has offered to quickly declare West an emergency disaster area eligible for federal aid.

West's 2,800 residents were evacuated. Authorities have not determined the cause of the disaster.

An official with the Texas Department of Public Safety described the scene.

He said, "I can tell you I was there. I walked through the blast area, I searched some houses earlier tonight.  Massive, just like Iraq, just like the Murray building in Oklahoma City. Same kind of anhydrous [chemical compound] exploded, so you can imagine what kind of damage we are looking at there."

  • The remains of a fertilizer plant burn after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas early April 18, 2013.
  • Waco Police spokesperson William Swanton speaks at a media conference regarding an explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas early April 18, 2013.
  • This video image shows injured people being treated on the flood-lit high school football field turned into a staging area after the blast in West Texas early April 18, 2013.
  • Firefighters walk next to a destroyed apartment complex near a fertilizer plant that exploded earlier in West, Texas, in this photo taken early morning April 18, 2013.
  • Authories said that the deadly explosion ripped through the fertilizer plant injuring more than 100 people, leveling dozens of homes and damaging other buildings including a school and nursing home.

Authorities have not determined how the initial fire started at the plant. Patrick Swanton, spokesman for the Waco police department, said the site is being treated as a crime scene, but insists there is no evidence to suggest it was anything other than an accident.  

A nearby high school football field was turned into an emergency staging area to treat the victims.

Emergency crews from dozens of nearby towns and counties traveled to West to assist with the response. Texas Governor Rick Perry said state resources have been mobilized to provide assistance to local authorities.  
 

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

You May Like

Arab League Delays Forming Joint Force

Delay grows out of one of original obstacles facing pan-Arab force, analysts say: 'They may agree on the principle, but they continue to argue about how to implement the project' More

Pakistan Demands Afghanistan Protect Its Kabul Mission, Staff

Officials in Islamabad say Afghan agents are harassing Pakistani embassy personnel, particularly those living outside of mission’s compound More

US Survey: Trump Lead Grows in Republican Presidential Contest

Quinnipiac University poll shows brash billionaire real estate mogul with 28 percent support among Republican voters More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs