Update: 5 to 15 people killed in explosion at fertilizer plant, hundreds injured

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Emergency crews from throughout Central Texas responded Wednesday night after a major explosion at a burning fertilizer plant in West north of Waco.

West EMS Director Dr. George Smith says several people are dead and hundreds were injured Wednesday night in a fertilizer plant explosion in West.  A rescuer earlier said he knew of five deaths.

6:15 a.m. UPDATE: Police say the death toll is between five to 15 people but that the count is ‘fluid’.  The blast measured a 2.1-magnitude seismic event.

Officials are also saying about 75 buildings have been damaged in some way, from the explosion.

Fox News is reporting between 2 and 5 firefighters have gone missing after the explosion.

5:15 a.m. UPDATE: The full extent of the devastation will have to wait until the light of day Thursday. But residents of the small Texas town of West already know what to expect.

“There are a lot of people that got hurt,” West Mayor Tommy Muska forewarned Wednesday night. “There are a lot of people that will not be here tomorrow.”

A massive explosion at a fertilizer plant on the edge of the town killed at least two people, wounded more than 150, leveled dozens of homes and prompted authorities to evacuate half their community of 2,800.

3 a.m. UPDATE: Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton of  Waco Police Department said during a press conference that rescue crews had been going house to house in nearby neighborhoods all evening, looking for people who were trapped or injured.

Swanton also said they were unsure of how the fire, which sparked the explosion, started.

Storms are moving into the area and officials say those storms could cause issues with the chemicals at the factory and rescue efforts.

Midnight: Emergency crews were pulled back late Wednesday night because of concerns about the possibility of a second explosion.

Emergency crews from throughout Central Texas responded just before 8 p.m. Wednesday after the first explosion at the plant in the small town north of Waco.

A hospital in Waco, Texas, has also been told to anticipate 100 injured people coming in from a fertilizer plant where there was a massive explosion, an official at the medical facility told CNN.

Gov. Rick Perry put out the following statement: “We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident. We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene.”, according to the LA Times.

More information is available at KWTX: http://www.kwtx.com/home/headlines/Explosion-Injuries-Reported-At-West-Fertilizer-Plant-203505331.html

Photo Courtesy: DFW Scanner