UPDATE: Between five to 15 reported dead, three firefighters missing, more than 160 injured. The explosion was so powerful, it registered as a 2.1 seismic event.
This has been one hell of a week, hasn't it? Very disturbing news from just outside of Waco, TX: Explosion hits fertilizer plant north of Waco, Texas:
An explosion ripped through a fertilizer plant Wednesday night in the area of West, Texas, sending a massive fireball into the sky and causing dozens of injuries, officials said.
A number of nearby residents were being evacuated because of the possibility of another explosion, officials said.
A hospital in nearby Waco, Texas, has been told to anticipate 100 injured people coming in from the fertilizer plant area, an official at the medical facility said.
Glenn Robinson, CEO of Hillcrest Hospital, said a field triage station was being set up on a football field near the plant some 18 miles north of Waco after the Wednesday night explosion. [...]
"What we are hearing is that there is one fertilizer tank that is still intact at the plant, and there are evacuations in place to make sure everyone gets away from the area safely in case of another explosion," said Ben Stratmann, a spokesman for Texas State Sen. Brian Birdwell. Photos of the explosion -- which reportedly happened around 7:50 p.m. (8:50 p.m. ET) -- showed a huge blaze and flames leaping over the roof of a structure and a plume of smoke rising high into the air. The West Fertilizer Plant is just north of Waco. A school and a nursing home are among the buildings near the plant, CNN affiliate KWTX reported.
Here are more updates from CNN as well: What we know about fertilizer plant explosion in Texas:
-- "It was like a nuclear bomb went off," West Mayor Tommy Muska said.
-- Some 10 to 15 buildings have been "totally demolished" and "probably 50 homes (were) heavily damaged," said George Smith, community emergency medical services director.
-- The fertilizer plant was near an apartment complex and a nursing home, authorities said.
-- Some people might be trapped in collapsed buildings, Smith said.
-- "I expect there's going to be many fatalities and many more injured people," he added.
-- State troopers in gas masks set up roadblocks, waving away cars coming off the highway
Here's some really terrifying footage of the initial explosion which was posted on You Tube.