April 18th, 2013
07:36 AM ET

Texas blast 'like nuclear bomb went off'

A massive blast at a fertilizer plant Wednesday night killed what authorities estimate to be at least five people, wounded more than 160, and damaged 50 to 60 homes in a five-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.

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Filed under: Texas
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. s kel

    My God........five of my fellow firefighters killed!

    April 18, 2013 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
  2. Pete

    My prayers,condolences go out to the workers ,firefighters who were victims of this devastating explosion ..Ammonium nitrate a fertilizer component is a favorite for the Timothy McVeighs out there in high explosives just like in Oklahoma truck bomb incident..So these factory workers knew ahead what they were dealing with in a ticking time bomb of sorts just waiting for an eventual slip up as innocent as it may it still kills...Again my condolences to the innocents killed and I hope the injured may soon recover from this horrendous explosion and go on with their lives..God Bless all...

    April 18, 2013 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. vikingwoman

    This is horrific! Prayers to the whole town of West, Tx!!

    April 18, 2013 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. ellie ricci

    Maybe I'm being super paranoid, but didn't Kim Jong Un threaten to bomb Texas a week ago? Maybe it's a stretch, but after Boston's bombings, I really don't know what to think anymore.

    April 18, 2013 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • xmxm

      May be you should not think at all.

      April 19, 2013 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Patrick

    20 years ago Friday,David Koresh lost his life along with many others near Waco.

    April 18, 2013 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Vlad

      How is that relevant?

      April 18, 2013 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  6. Darrell Reed

    There seems to be an ever epidemic of people hurting others. We seriously need to take this junk to Jesus, and then report ANYTHING that is out of the ordinary to the proper authorities as good people of the WOUNDERFUL U.S.A. I will pray for the victoms and friends in West, Texas, as well as Boston, MA. God bless & Shalom! Jesus Is Still Lord! ~ Darrell

    April 18, 2013 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dave Wilson

    This is every manufacturing plant's nightmare. Safety Management seems like it's common sense and it often gets mocked / pushed aside, but the position is of the utmost importance and they have to get it right 24/7. Unfortunately, the best time to react to it is before an incident like this...but all too often, it's after an incident like this.

    Condolences to all of the victims in Texas and their families on this horrible tragegy.

    April 18, 2013 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @Dave,sometimes incidents like these are how better safety regulations are made,inforced..People sometimes get complacent after years of working with compounds ,mechanical components every day never thinking one slip up may end or injure a life,maybe their own but its been proven some times you're your worst enemy not taking proper precausions. Acting like something like this could never happen to me and believe me after over 35 years in nuclear power,industrial ,refinery maintenence and construction as a union welder I've seen it all and a lot of it wasn't pretty I can assure yah!!

      April 19, 2013 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    Do you get the feeling Armegeddon is upon us? We must change our ways and soon.

    April 18, 2013 at 11:41 am | Report abuse |
  9. saywhat

    These two tragedies in the wake of mass shootings and general gun violence does make one think@chrissy.

    April 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. banasy©

    My condolences to the families of those brave souls who have perished.

    April 18, 2013 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. myopinion52

    I'm heartbroken for West, TX. Stayed up very late to see any news. So disappointed the only anchor reporting late night was Piers Morgan, wanted to watch anyone else. He just wasn't very effective trying to interview people on the scene with his accent, those poor folks had a hard time understanding him. My prayers & condolences are with you.

    April 18, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • s kel

      I feel, just extreamly saddened by this town and my fellow firefighters and others who died.

      April 18, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. charles

    Check out the 1947 Ammonium Nitrate fertilizer explosion in Texas City, TX. Much larger and many more people killed. Doesn't anyone learn anything from the past. The plant claimed that there was no hazard. The fire fighters should not have approached the plant but should have concentrated on evacuation of civilians in the vicinity. The State of Texas is culpable as well as the plant owner and management.

    April 19, 2013 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pete

      @Charles,the GE LEXAN plant outside of Evansville,Indiana off route 64 is so dangerous I as a union welder doing maintenence shutdowns there for years reguarely visited the local hospital with chemical burns,inhalation problems and others but without it you'd have had much less plastics to live with..A major component of plastics there was phosegene the major ingredient in nerve gas bombs ,nice working around crap like that ha..And firefighters trained were told if the plant is on fire stay at least 5 miles up wind so not to get poisoned from the gases burning there as well!!

      April 21, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |