TX plant-explosion deaths: ‘there are going to be a lot of them’

Plant Explosion-Texas, cropped
In this Instagram photo provided by Andy Bartee, a plume of smoke rises from a fertilizer plant fire in West, Texas on Wednesday, April 17, 2013. An explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco Wednesday night injured dozens of people and sent flames shooting high into the night sky, leaving the factory a smoldering ruin and causing major damage to surrounding buildings. (AP Photo/Andy Bartee)
West, Texas, explosion

The explosion may have been a result of ammonium nitrate held at a small fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas. (April 17, 2013 | CBSLocal)

WACO, Texas (AP/CBS) — Authorities say a likely natural explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas, has killed a large number of people and injured many more.

A dispatcher with the West, Texas, Fire Department said the explosion happened Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant in the community north of Waco. She said any casualties would be taken to hospitals in Waco.

Gayle Scarbrough, a spokeswoman for the Department of Public Safety in Waco, told television station KWTX that DPS troopers have been transporting the injured to hospitals in their patrol cars. She said six helicopters were also en route.

KWTX reports that the explosion at West Fertilizer was reported around 7:50 p.m. in a frantic call from the scene.

City officials said they don’t yet know how many killed or hurt in Texas fertilizer plant blast. As of 11 p.m. only two deaths had been confirmed. However, early estimates out of the CBSLocal station had as many as 60 people dead and more than 100 people injured.

Dr. George Smith with West EMS told CBS affiliate KTVT “The Hill County Justice of the Peace is here. And there’s another physician. The two of us are going to be helping pronounce the dead. I think, unfortunately, there are going to be a lot of them.”

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