Authorities search for survivors of deadly Texas blast - KSWO, Lawton, OK- Wichita Falls, TX: News, Weather, Sports. ABC, 24/7, Telemundo -

Authorities search for survivors of deadly Texas blast

Posted: Updated:

West, Texas - As many as 15 residents of a small East Texas town lost their lives in a massive explosion Wednesday evening.

More than 160 residents are being treated for injuries they sustained during a blast in the town of West, which has a population of around 2,800 and is just 18 miles north of Waco.

The town's fire department says they initially responded to a fire at West Fertilizer around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

A massive blast followed, which could be felt up to 50 miles away.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the force was so powerful it measured as a 2.1 magnitude seismic event.

The entire town has been evacuated due to the lingering risks associated with the anhydrous ammonia in the area, including 133 people from a nearby nursing home.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anhydrous ammonia is a pungent gas with suffocating fumes.

When exposed to humans, it can cause problems ranging from burning of the eyes, nose and throat to more severe symptoms like chemical burns to the lungs, and even death.

About 20 members of the Texas National Guard are on scene monitoring the air quality near the blast.

Victims are being treated at about a half-dozen sites, including a nearby football field set up as a staging area for first responders.

Injuries include blast injuries, orthopedic injuries, large wounds and a lot of lacerations and cuts.

Emergency responders continue going door to door to rescue residents trapped in their homes.

Officials say there is no initial indication that the blast was anything but an industrial accident, although agents from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are on the scene investigating the explosion.

The full extent of damages is unknown at this time but DPS officials say a 50-unit apartment complex was destroyed, and between 50 and 75 houses sustained damage.

A nearby nursing home, as well as a school, was also destroyed

Hundreds of units of blood are being sent to help families after the explosion near Waco.

Carter Blood Care in Waco sent 500 units to the town of West.

Austin sent 200 units of blood for those in need.

Our area's Coffee Memorial Blood Center has reached out to the town and is standing by in case assistance is needed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • SkyWARN 7 Forecast

    SkyWARN 7 Forecast

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:40 AM EDT2014-09-02 08:40:04 GMT
    Weather- Clear Skies RotatorWeather- Clear Skies Rotator
    Stay Hot Through Friday but Then Cooler This Weekend...
    Stay Hot Through Friday but Then Cooler This Weekend...
  • RV fire shut down highway

    RV fire shut down highway

    Sep 01, 2014 04:51 PM2014-09-01 23:32:03 GMT
    A grassfire sparked by a burning RV on I-44 near Geronimo shut down all lanes of traffic Monday afternoon just before 3:00 p.m.
    A grassfire sparked by a burning RV on I-44 near Geronimo shut down all lanes of traffic Monday afternoon just before 3:00 p.m.
  • Duncan firefighters stay vigilant on Labor Day

    Duncan firefighters stay vigilant on Labor Day

    Monday, September 1 2014 7:24 PM EDT2014-09-01 23:24:52 GMT
    Fire departments all over southwest Oklahoma are remaining on call this holiday weekend to keep close watch on dry conditions and holiday festivities.
    Fire departments all over southwest Oklahoma are remaining on call this holiday weekend to keep close watch on dry conditions and holiday festivities.
Powered by WorldNow
KSWO-TV, 1401 SE 60th Street
Lawton, OK 73501

Telephone: (580) 355-7000
Fax: (580) 357-3811
Email: news@kswo.com

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KSWO. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.