The small town of West, located 21 miles north of Waco, was shook and partially destroyed on Wednesday night when the West Fertilizer Company Plant exploded. Reports state that a fire started in the plant around 6pm. Close to 8pm the plant exploded, sending a shockwave that was felt 50 miles away and registered a 2.1 earthquake on the US Geological Survey site in Amarillo.
According to WFFA News, the apparent epicenter was a building storing ammonium nitrate fertilizer. Ammonium nitrate was the cause of the Texas City explosion accident and was used in the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. However, officials have not determined the source or the cause of the blast.
The blast from the plant destroyed 50 homes and caused serious damage to most buildings within a 5 block radius. Governor Rick Perry has declared West a disaster area. At this point TxDPS are stating that it is still a search and rescue mission. Sergeant Reyes of TxDPS did confirm on Friday morning that there have been 12 fatalities at this point. First responders are continuing to move house-to-house combing through the debire looking for survivors. Sergeant Reyes stated that there were 25 more homes to search on Friday. The apartment building located within 1000 feet of the plant will also be searched again with heavy machinery to stabilize the severely damaged infrastructure.
In 2006 the West Fertilizer Company was cited by the EPA for not having a risk management plan that complied with federal guidelines. Built in 1962 the plant was grandfathered into laws requiring permits. However according to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality the plant lost its grandfather status in 2006 when it received a complaint of ammonia odor.
Senator Cornyn stated in an interview with WFAA News, the tragedy in West has prompted questions over the safety of populated areas being so close to facilities such as the fertilizer plant.
To support in the recovery and rebuilding of West please visit the Red Cross website www.redcross.org.
Have you or a loved one been injured in an explosion or accident? Unsure of what recourse you may have? Give The Wright Firm a call, we are a Dallas based firm experienced in personal injury actions and are available to help. Call us at (972) 353-4600 or visit our website at www.thewrightlawyers.com. Our thoughts and prayers are with the community of West. Personal Injury Consultations are Free.