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

    Former US Envoys Urge Obama to Delay Troop Cuts in Afghanistan

    Keeping troop levels up during conflict with both Taliban and Islamic State is necessary to support Kabul government, they say

    First Lady to Visit Africa to Promote Girls' Education

    Michele Obama will be joined by daughters and actresses Meryl Streep and Freida Pinto

    Video NYSE Analyst: Brexit Will Continue to Place Pressure on Markets

    Despite orderly pricing and execution strategy at the New York Stock Exchange, analyst explains added pressure on world financial markets is likely

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora