Authorities believe between five and 15 people are dead after a massive explosion ripped through a fertilizer plant in West Texas Wednesday night. They say they cannot be more specific about casualties as emergency crews continue to search door to door and believe people may still be trapped in rubble.
Among those still unaccounted for are several firefighters and a law enforcement officer. Authorities say the devastation is widespread and more than 160 people have been treated at several area hospitals.
Waco police spokesman Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton says firefighters first went to the plant to fight a fire but quickly realized they were dealing with something far more serious because of the volitile ammonia at the fertilizer plant.Emergency crews began trying to evacuate people nearby but a little less than an hour later the plant exploded.
Swanton called the results of that explosion extreme devastation.
ATF is now leading an investigation into the blast. Officials say the plant is being treated as a crime scene. They say they have no reason to believe the explosion was intentional but want a thorough investigation before calling it an industrial accident.
Swanton says he has had a report that the blast was so strong it registered on a seismograph in Amarillo.
KWKT News in Waco has video of the explosion caught on camera.