Waco Explosion: 5 to 15 Dead

Update: The number of persons killed is now being estimated at 5 to 15. Last nights numbers provided by EMS were incorrect.

Emergency Medical Services in Waco say 60 to 70 have died in the explosion at a fertilizer plant in Waco, TX. Hundreds more have been injured.

The fire started in an anhydrous ammonia tank and spread to the building, authorities said. The resulting explosion spread the fire to the Middle School and to a nearby nursing home.

To check on injured residents admitted to Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center call (254) 202-1100. The Red Cross is on its way.

< Rushing to Judgment Against Those Society Fears | Obama Speaks at Boston Memorial Service >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Quite a coincidence (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Peter G on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 11:28:41 PM EST
    on the 20th anniversary of the Waco massacre at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, April 19, 1993. Is this explosion really an accident?

    I (none / 0) (#4)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:57:38 AM EST
    IDKY, I have been thinking 10 years all evening.

    This started with a fire, then the explosion.  It doesn't feel connected to me. Not to say some a-hole won't try something on the 19th though.

    After the last couple of days, anything is possible.  I just feel incredibly sad.


    This is Running on Local News... (none / 0) (#17)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:25:37 PM EST
    ...all day.  From what I gather, anhydrous ammonia reacts very badly with water and that is what they were using on the original fire.  Apparently they thought it was ammonium nitrate, or it was the source of the original fire, which requires water to keep it from heating and exploding.

    My question is this, WTF is a fertilizer plant doing close to a residential area.  Fertilizer(ammonium nitrate) caused the deadliest industrial accident in US history, any guesses where that happened ?
    Texas City Disaster

    According to this map, it's on the city edge right next to two schools, the hospital, and and a residential area.

    FYI, this happened in West, Texas, not Waco.  Waco is much larger so that might be why everything is Waco this or that, but it's about 20 miles away.


    A fertilizer plant (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:29:17 PM EST
    is in a residential area because IMO it's Texas and they are really lax about that kind of stuff.

    Or maybe (none / 0) (#21)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:34:16 PM EST
    Because the entire area of the town is 1.6 sq. mile.

    That Makes is Worse (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:11:07 PM EST
    If it was a larger town I could understand that maybe a plant way out at one point, ends up in the city.  But every structure in the city is within a mile of a fertilizer plant.

    What about the schools next door, either they decided to built schools next to a fertilizer plant or they let a fertilizer plant set-up shop next to a school.  That boggles my mind.

    There is nothing but farm land around the town, cheap land for housing or for a plant.

    This is why Union Carbide killed so many people, the plant was next to the city and if I remember right, it was located above the city and all the gasses ran right into the city and settled there.  


    What does that have to do with anything? (3.50 / 2) (#22)
    by sj on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:54:38 PM EST
    It just had to be within the town boundaries?  I don't think so.  Or, depending on the order that things were built, the town just had to be built next to the factory?

    The size of the town is irrelevant data.


    The facility (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:08:53 PM EST
    Was built in 1962, so yes, the town size has plenty to do with it, especially if the rest of the town decided to build up around it - inlcuding putting a nursing home and middle school near by.

    Upon reflection, I take it back (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by sj on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 04:54:51 PM EST
    The size of the town isn't irrelevant data. Had it been larger, the loss of life may have been even greater.

    Here's a map (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 03:59:24 PM EST

    The facility is on the edge of town next to a field.

    And they think the city's fire captain was killed.


    On another blog, a relative (none / 0) (#32)
    by Towanda on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 12:41:22 PM EST
    in the family of one of the firefighters reports than only one survived.

    In my state, I read, such a plant is required to have its own firefighting force as well as other security.  Just saying.


    Correction: (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 01:20:37 PM EST
    It was a fire captain from the Dallas Fire Department, who lived in West, and was off-duty, but was one of the first responders.

    I guess you didn't read my (none / 0) (#29)
    by sj on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 04:51:44 PM EST
    WHOLE comment.
    Or, depending on the order that things were built, the town just had to be built next to the factory?
    The size of the town still is irrelevant data.

    I'm inclined to agree with Ga6thDem about standards and building codes.


    If you want to... (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by DebFrmHell on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:07:24 AM EST
    The Red Cross will need blood.  They are already taking donations for Boston where that is needed too.  This will drain the blood banks.  Please volunteer to give blood.  Thank you.

    To me (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Ga6thDem on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 06:43:21 AM EST
    this does not look like a terrorist attack. IIRC Texas has a lot of explosions because of their lax standards.

    There does seem to be a lot (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Jack203 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 09:37:08 AM EST
    I wonder how well this plant was inspected.  I am going to speculate not very well.

    My thoughts go out to the victims.  They deserved more.


    Regulation of fertilizer industry in Texas is (none / 0) (#25)
    by Angel on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 02:49:55 PM EST
    The ammonia plant violated regulations (5.00 / 2) (#26)
    by shoephone on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 03:15:16 PM EST
    Multiple violations from the plant owners. In addition to complaints from the town about foul odors, the plant, which was incorporated into the town in 2004, didn't get its permit until 2007.

    The middle school located close to the West Fertilizer plant in West, Texas has more than once been evacuated due to fumes and pollution released by the plant, but the company failed to report any related emission events to state air pollution authorities, according to records and interviews by The Houston Chronicle.

    In fact, Texas Department of Environmental Quality shows no reports of pollution releases by either West Fertilizer or by its parent company, Adair Grain Inc.

    Adair Grain Inc., which was incorporated in Texas in May 2004, did not get a state air pollution permit until 2007 after a complaint was filed about foul odors from the site, which is a wholesaler and warehouse for fertilizer.

    Other records show that the company has never been inspected or cited by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration in its history.

    Oh, and Rick Perry, who, during his presidential campaign, proposed having Texas secede from the United States, said he wants a "quick turnaround" from the U.S government on emergency aid.

    As I posted yesterday, Rick Perry is the worst (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by Angel on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 03:25:38 PM EST
    governor in the nation.  He's also the dumbest.  And a hypocrite.  Hates the federal government until he needs it.  See link in post #25 for fertilizer regulations in Texas, it's a big joke.  

    The explosion was felt as much as 40 miles (none / 0) (#2)
    by caseyOR on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 11:31:01 PM EST
    away from the fertilizer plant. The plant is in the town of West, which is 20 miles north of Waco.

    This is bad, very bad. It sounds like the entire is town is damaged.

    Correct; Not in Waco (n/t) (none / 0) (#3)
    by Towanda on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:55:38 AM EST
    The 60-70 number (none / 0) (#7)
    by CoralGables on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 07:12:21 AM EST
    is now being reported as 5-15 according to Waco police.

    AP report as of 7:39 a.m. EDT 4/18 (none / 0) (#8)
    by MO Blue on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 07:16:07 AM EST
    "They are still getting injured folks out and they are evacuating people from their homes," Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said early Thursday morning. He added later, "At some point this will turn into a recovery operation, but at this point, we are still in search and rescue."

    Swanton said authorities believe that between five and 15 people were killed in the blast, but stressed that is an early estimate. There is no indication the blast was anything other than an industrial accident, he said. link

    5-15 killed is the latest (none / 0) (#9)
    by SuzieTampa on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 07:18:29 AM EST
    ... as of 8:11 a.m. EDT. Some news outlets are describing West as being in West Texas (without the comma). Actually, it's in north-central Texas.

    Czech immigrants gave it a rich history. When traveling between the Dallas-Fort Worth area and Austin, I always stopped at the Czech Stop for pastries.

    So sad ...

    The explosion wasn't in Waco (none / 0) (#16)
    by SuzieTampa on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 12:24:52 PM EST
    It was in the town of West. This is not a metropolitan area. There's a distinct difference between West and Waco.


    That Guy... (none / 0) (#19)
    by ScottW714 on Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 01:23:36 PM EST
    ...and his girls were on the Today show and he said it physically moved his truck.  The girls are fine and the one's hearing is back.

    CNN is now reporting (none / 0) (#31)
    by jbindc on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 09:09:58 AM EST
    That 12 bodies have been pulled out, but they don't know how many more they will find.

    More on the plant (none / 0) (#34)
    by SuzieTampa on Fri Apr 19, 2013 at 02:30:45 PM EST
    That was in West, not Waco, despite the inaccurate headline on this post. From the NYT:
    It did not manufacture any products, but instead stored and sold agricultural chemicals and fertilizer to farmers. The company stored substantial amounts of anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate, chemicals used as commercial fertilizers that can become explosive under proper conditions.