Wednesday night around 8:00 PM in West, Texas a fertilizer plant exploded. The cause of the explosion is still not known. Rescue workers are searching the rubble for survivors and some firefighters who went missing. The actual number of deaths is still not known, but 15 are feared dead and there are more than 160 injured being treated in nearby hospitals.
The injuries include broken bones, minor burns, and respiratory problems due to the smoke. There are about 3 to 5 firefighters that went missing after rushing to the scene after the explosion occurred. The fire fighters are believed to be dead as they were fighting the flames when the explosion occurred.
The explosion also caused a lot of damage to the surrounding area. About 75 homes were damaged, including a middle school, a nursing home, and an apartment complex. The explosion shaved the front of the apartment complex, exposing the support structure. The explosion also left the cars tattered and scattered around.
The fertilizer plant contained ammonium nitrate which makes big explosions. The hotter it is the faster the reaction which gives it a bigger force. 20 minutes before the blast, firefighters were called into the plant. Realizing the plant had chemical stockpiles, they proceeded to evacuate the surrounding area. The plant fire was under control later that day, but residents were told to stay indoors because there could be ammonia leaks or even another explosion.
President Obama extended his condolences to the people of West, Texas and the first responders. Even Pope Francis tweeted, “Please join me in praying for the victims of the explosion in Texas and their families.”