A massive blast at a fertilizer plant Wednesday night killed an estimated five to 15 people, wounded more than 160, and damaged 50 to 60 homes in a 5-block area, officials in West, Texas said Thursday.
The casualty count could spike to 60 or 70, said Dr. George Smith, the city’s emergency management system director.
“We have two EMS personnel that are dead for sure, and there may be three firefighters that are dead,” Smith said.
“There are a lot of people that will not be here tomorrow,” Mayor Tommy Muska warned late Wednesday.
The explosion rocked the West Fertilizer Co. at about 7:50 p.m. (8:50 p.m. ET). It’s being treated as a crime scene until investigators determine whether it was an accident. “Nothing at this point indicates we have had criminal activity, but we are not ruling that out,” said Sgt. William Patrick Swanton of the nearby Waco Police Department.
Swanton estimated the death toll as high as 15.