WEST, Texas (AP) — Witnesses are describing the impact of the explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas that left as many as 15 people dead and more than 160 others injured.
Erick Perez was playing basketball at a nearby middle school yesterday evening when a fire started at the plant. He says he and his friends thought nothing of it, but then the smoke changed color. He says the blast threw him, his nephew and others to the ground, and showered the area with hot embers and debris.
Julie Zahirniako had been with her son at the school playground. She says the explosion threw her son four feet in the air, breaking his ribs.
She says she saw people running from a nearby nursing home, and that the roof of the school lifted into the sky.
The nursing home was also badly damaged. One man who arrived there before the first responders says he and his wife found residents in wheelchairs trapped in their rooms, amid dark hallways and ceilings that had collapsed.
195-a-13-(Sergeant William Patrick Swanton, spokesman, Waco Police Department, in news conference)-"going house-to-house"-Waco Police Sergeant William Patrick Swanton says rescue crews are continuing the search for missing firefighters other people in the neighborhood that got flattened. (18 Apr 2013)
<<CUT *195 (04/18/13)>> 00:13 "going house-to-house"
192-a-09-(Lola Milhollin, worker, senior center, in AP interview)-"went flying everwhere"-Senior center worker Lola Milhollin says she and another worker were evacuating residents when the plant exploded. (18 Apr 2013)
<<CUT *192 (04/18/13)>> 00:09 "went flying everwhere"
GRAPHICSBANK: Firefighters at destroyed apartment complex near fertilizer PLANT EXPLOSION, West, Texas, finished graphic (18 Apr 2013)
APPHOTO TXKJ105: This aerial photo shows the remains of a fertilizer plant destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas, is shown Thursday, April 18, 2013. A massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160, officials said overnight. The explosion that struck around 8 p.m. Wednesday, sent flames shooting into the night sky and rained burning embers and debris down on shocked and frightened residents. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) (18 Apr 2013)
<<APPHOTO TXKJ105 (04/18/13)>>
APPHOTO TXMO148: Firefighters set a brace to hold up a sagging beam during a search and rescue operation at an apartment complex destroyed by an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Thursday, April 18, 2013. A massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Co. killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160, officials said overnight. The explosion that struck around 8 p.m. Wednesday, sent flames shooting into the night sky and rained burning embers and debris down on shocked and frightened residents. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) (18 Apr 2013)
<<APPHOTO TXMO148 (04/18/13)>>
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