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article imageOp-Ed: Fertilizer plant in West, Texas explodes, injuring hundreds

By Michelle Duffy     Apr 18, 2013 in Environment
Texas City - West, in Texas is evacuated after explosion hits fertilizer plant, killing at least five people and injuring approximately 200, including some children
A giant explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, in America, has killed at least five people (according to a local helper) and injured hundreds including fire fighters and children, according to an update at 11.28 EST by KWTX. The fire fighters injured where said to have been attending a separate incident at the plant when the explosion took place.
There have been multiple reports of fatalities, but there are no exact figures at this stage. West EMS Director Dr. George Smith told KWTX that as many as 60 to 70 people died in the explosion. KHOU 11 is reporting 70 deaths, including five firefighters and one police officer. CBS 11 is also reporting that 60 people were killed. CNN is citing a source who says there are two confirmed fatalities.
The blast has been confirmed as taking place at 8 pm local time.
It is reported that the blast was heard from miles around when it was thought a small fire grew into a devastating explosion after water was sprayed on to the ammonia nitrate at the plant. It was described as exploding like the 'Oklahoma City bomb.'
The blast had such an impact on the surrounding area that homes, commercial buildings including a nursing home, a complex of apartments and even a school where said to have been affected by the ground shaking. A nearby football pitch has been taken over by a triage team from the local hospital to attend to the injured. The CEO of the hospital said they were going to expect at least 100 people coming to them for treatment. highlighted comments from Czech Best Western hotel clerk in the town, Jason Shelton. He said:
"The fertilizer plant down here exploded. It was a small fire and then water got sprayed on the ammonia nitrate and it exploded just like the Oklahoma City bomb. I live about a thousand feet from it and it blew my screen door off and my back windows. There's houses leveled that were right next to it. We've got people injured and possibly dead."
The Waco Tribune spoke to one eye witness who told them that everything in the four block area around the plant had been destroyed. It is even thought that there may be some people still trapped inside the plant.Visiting Bill Bohannan, who happened to be seeing his parents at their house in West said,
"I said, ‘This thing is going to blow' ... and I told my mom and dad to get in the car. I was standing next to my car with my fiancee, waiting for my parents to come out and (the plant) exploded. It knocked us into the car... Every house within about four blocks is blown apart."
The Waco Tribute reported at 11.15 EST, that the whole of the town was being evacuated after concerns of a second explosion at the plant.
CNN said the explosion has left over 1,000 homes without electricity and much of the town was cloaked in thick, black smoke for up to two hours after the explosion happened. Th Red Cross are currently attempting to set up shelters for those who are not able to return to their homes.
The explosion at the plant has come at a very difficult time after Monday's explosions at the Boston Marathon. Poisoned ricin letters had reportedly been sent to US senator and the US president since the the blast in Boston.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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