Authorities are still searching for survivors and have reported between five and 15 deaths as a result of an explosion that occurred around 8 p.m. last night in West, Texas.
The explosion was that of a fertilizer plant. The explosion was reportedly so massive that residents in Northern and Central Texas felt the ground shake according to the Texas Tribune. Over 60 homes were damaged from the blast and the resulting fire, as well as a middle school and apartment complex. Emergency response personnel were forced to use a nearby football field to help provide the injured with immediate care before airlifting them to nearby hospitals.
There is an estimate of over 150 possible victims injured from the explosion and among the dead are believed to be volunteer firefighters. Authorities report that evidence suggests an industrial accident to be the cause of the blasts.
Authorities according to reports are being advised to wait for clearance to enter the area of the blast due to the possibility of toxic chemicals and ammonia more specifically anhydrous ammonia, a gas that can cause suffocation. Residents reported being thrown in the air as a result of the blasts and witnessing buildings being leveled into the air or completely engulfed in flames.
While information is still developing, some air-crafts have been banned from the area. Tommy Muska, mayor of West and also a firefighter who was headed to the scene reached out and asked for prayers. Meanwhile Governor of Texas, Rick Perry, has declared disaster and is awaiting a declaration from the government.
The Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosive, The United States Chemical Safety Board, Federal and local law enforcement are all investigating the site.
The President made a statement offering the full support and help of the government as well as prayers and recognition of emergency personnel.