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UPDATED: West Texas Fertilizer Company Explosion

Posted By Arnold & Itkin LLP || 18-Apr-2013

Yesterday evening a fertilizer plant in West, Texas caught fire; resulting in a devastating explosion that has injured and killed many victims the small tight-knit community. According to recent report updates, between 5 and 15 victims have died from the explosion, and at least 100-160 victims who are suffering varying levels of injuries. The extent of the property damage is not yet known, though at this point it can be easily said that it is extensive throughout the town located just 20 miles north of Waco.

The U.S. Geological Survey reports the extent of the explosion on the community acted as a 2.1 magnitude earthquake; literally shaking up the town and its buildings. Many people of the community share that at first they believed it to be an actual earthquake in their town, because their doors and walls shook, and for some buildings closer by; it took them out completely.

Investigators have learned that this Texas fertilizer plant was cited in 2006 for failing to obtain, or even qualify, for a permit. They were investigated by the Texas Commission on Environment Quality that June because the community was complaining about strong odors coming from their site. This complaint pales in comparison to that of last night's explosion. All buildings within a five-block radius were said to have been affected by the explosion, the majority of them leveled by the impact. Among these buildings included the plant itself, a nearby nursing home, a middle school and other businesses and homes. As of Thursday morning reports claim that residents were still being evacuated from the area, though good news shares that all 133 residents living in the nursing home were reported to have been safely evacuated as well.

Unfortunately, the rubble from the explosion is significant, which is why at this time it is very difficult to give a total number of injured and dead victims. Morning reports share that there are many people who are still trapped, and search and rescue teams, along with countless volunteers from the community and surrounding areas, are doing whatever they can to save as many lives as possible. Among these helpers include squads from Burleson and Fort Hood. Sgt. William Patrick Swanton of the Waco PD says that this process is extremely tedious, and must be done in a slow and methodical manner in order to protect any possible survivors. Not only that, but, for the sake of the rescue crews, there are a number of buildings that must have reinforcement put in before rescue teams can begin their search in order to prevent further structural collapses.

It is tragic to say that a large part of the West community has been completely wiped out, with many homes and businesses destroyed, and if not entirely flattened out by the explosion at the West Fertilizer plant. There are a number of different types of injuries that have been reported from the explosion and subsequent disasters as a result. One couple was taken to the hospital suffering from shrapnel injuries, while living two miles from the blast site; another 3 victims suffered injuries and were taken to the local hospital as well. Other possible injuries may include burn injuries, hearing loss, and other catastrophic injuries for those who may have been closer to the plant. At this time there are not only people from the community missing, but also a number of firefighters who have still not been located as well, the majority of these are those who were first responders to the explosion.

If you or a loved one were injured in any way from this industrial plant explosion, please contact Arnold & Itkin today for the industrial injury attorney you need on your side. Please stay tuned to our website for further updates.

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