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Authorities: Fertilizer plant explodes near Waco, Texas

11:31 PM, Apr 17, 2013   |    comments
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Explosions rocked a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Wednesday evening as firefighters were battling a fire, causing multiple injuries, authorities said.

A hospital in nearby Waco reported receiving at least 45 patients.

"The injuries that we are seeing are very serious,'' said Glenn Robinson, CEO of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center. "There are a number of patients that will be going to surgery.... It's a very, very unfortunate situation.''

Robinson said he did not know how many were in critical condition. He said helicopters were en route for more of the injured after earlier being grounded by high winds. And he said more patients were being taken to at least one other trauma center nearby.

Dani Moore, dispatcher with the Texas Department of Pubic Safety, said she did not know how many were injured or the extent of their injuries.

"The fertilizer plant was on fire. Firefighters were on the scene. There was an explosion ... followed by a second explosion,'' she said.

She said there were multiple damages to structures and vehicles. She said she had no information on the cause of the blasts or fire.

WFAA.com reported at least 10 structures were on fire, including a school which is next door to the plant. An emergency triage center was set up at a high school football field.

The TV station said on its website that a shock wave was felt in parts of North Texas.

The Waco Tribune reported firefighters were among the injured.

The fertilizer plant is about 20 miles north of Waco and just off Interstate 35.

KWTX.com reported one of the nearby buildings damaged was a nursing home, and state troopers transported some of the injured to hospitals in patrol cars.

It also said the explosion knocked out electrical power to part of the community.

Of the first 45 patients to arrive at Hillcrest, 25 of them came by private vehicle and 20 by ambulance, Robinson said.

He said most of the injured appeared to have blast-caused injuries.


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