Fertilizer Explosion in Texas Killed 15Apr 25, 2013
A fertilizer plant in central Texas burst into flames and a short while later exploded, killing 15 people and injuring around 200. The cause of the fire and explosion has not been determined, although natural causes have been ruled.
Authorities continue to work on identifying the bodies of the dead, NPR reported. Many were first responders killed in the explosion after arriving to help extinguish the initial fire.
About 70 state and federal agents were on the scene Wednesday to investigate what has widely been called a “catastrophe.” By Monday, law enforcement officials had finished interviewing about 70 people in an effort to find clues and evidence.
The explosion at the West Fertilizer Company, an 11-building, 10-acre facility in West, Texas, left a gaping crater, 93 feet wide and10 feet deep, according to investigators speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, NPR reported.
The fire and explosion will be deemed accidental or intentional, unless no conclusion can be reached.
What kinds of chemicals and in what quantity were at the plant on the day of the disaster is not known, The Dallas Morning News reported.
Wave residents only began returning home last Saturday, having been forced to evacuate and stay away – both for their own safety and to facilitate the work of investigators at the scene.
Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek said on Tuesday that the south side of town has water for cleaning, showers and household use, but not for drinking, according to Waco, Texas-based TV news KXXV, which added that a boil order remains in effect for the town.
A memorial service will be held for victims of the explosion on Thursday at Baylor University. The White House announced on Monday that President Obama will attend.
The president has declared the West, Texas, site a disaster area, according to NPR.