Police: Unclear How Many Trapped after Texas Blast

By: Newsroom Email
By: Newsroom Email

WEST, Texas (AP) -- Police in Texas say it's not clear how many people remain trapped in the rubble after a fertilizer plant explosion that killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160 others.

Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton says early Thursday he doesn't know how many people have been rescued since the Wednesday night explosion in downtown West.

But he says officials on the ground remain in "search and rescue mode," going building to building in the largely decimated neighborhood surrounding the plant.

He says he knows some firefighters still are missing.

Swanton says a thunderstorm that rolled through the area early Thursday has helped in some ways, including tamping down chemicals released from the plant.
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WEST, Texas (AP) -- The Texas fertilizer plant where an explosion injured more than 100 people and killed an unknown number of others was cited for failing to obtain or to qualify for a permit in 2006.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality investigated West Fertilizer on June 20, 2006, after receiving a complaint June 9 of a strong ammonia smell.

Agency records show that the person who lodged the complaint said the ammonia smell was "very bad last night" and lingered until after he or she went to bed.

Wednesday night's explosion leveled the plant and severely damaged other area buildings.

Authorities say people were killed, but they don't know how many.

Authorities were still trying to evacuate area homes early Thursday morning.


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