UPDATE: Some West, TX residents allowed to go home - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Some West, TX residents allowed to go home

Courtesy: ABC News Courtesy: ABC News

WEST, TEXAS (WKOW) -- A town official says the area impacted by the fertilizer plant blast is safe. Some residents will be allowed to return home.

City Council member Steve Vanek says the first wave of residents will be allowed to return home later Saturday.  There will be a curfew. Earlier Saturday, officials had stated there were gas tanks leaking causing fires, but they were contained.


WEST, TEXAS (WKOW) -- Officials tell displaced residents of West, Texas that tanks on site are leaking gas and causing small fires.

They say the fires are contained, but those who live nearby are not be able to return home right now.

On Saturday, spokesperson for West and paramedic Bryce Reed visited a hotel filled with displaced residents.

Reed said there may be reports of "another explosion in West," but warned that those are exaggerated.

Reed said the leaks were caused by tanks damaged by heat and had triggered small fires. He said no further evacuations were necessary.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama has issued an emergency declaration and pledged disaster relief aid to Texas to help in the recovery efforts following this week's deadly fertilizer plant explosion near Waco.

Obama's order Friday night authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts in the town of West. Wednesday's explosion at the West Fertilizer plant killed at least 14 people, injured more than 200 others and demolished buildings for blocks around.

After addressing the arrest of the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect Friday night, the president extended his sympathies to the community of West and everyone else affected by the explosion.

Obama said he's spoken with Texas Gov. Rick Perry and West's mayor, and he pledged that the community will have the resources it needs to rebuild.


WEST, TEXAS (WKOW) -- The Associated Press reports a Texas law enforcement official says 12 bodies have been recovered following a massive explosion that leveled a fertilizer plant.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Jason Reyes said Friday about 200 people were injured in the explosion at a the facility Wednesday night. It happened in the small farming community of West, about 20 miles north of Waco.

Search and rescue crews are still sifting through the still-smoldering remains for survivors. The blast crumpled dozens of homes, an apartment building, a school and a nursing home.

Authorities say there's no indication the blast was anything other than an industrial accident sparked by a fire. The company has been cited for apparently minor safety and permitting violations over the past decade.


WEST, TEXAS (WKOW) -- Waco police in Texas say between five and 15 people were killed in a fertilizer plant explosion that also injured more than 160 others.

Early Thursday morning, Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said the death toll is only an estimate as they continue search and rescue operations in downtown West.

An explosion around 8 p.m. on Wednesday shook the ground with the strength of a small earthquake in the community of 2,800 people located about 20 miles north of Waco.  The explosion registered as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake.

Swanton says there is no indication that the blast was anything other than an industrial accident.


WEST, Texas (WKOW) -- Two people are confirmed dead and numerous others hurt after a fertilizer plant exploded in Texas.

Police say the two confirmed dead were emergency responders.

The blast sent a massive fireball into the sky, left the factory a smoldering ruin and caused major damage to nearby buildings.

According to ABC News, a local emergency official says 200 people were hurt, 40 of them injured critically. It is unclear whether there have been any deaths.

75 to 100 houses and businesses were destroyed in and around the plant.

Authorities set up a staging area on the local high school's football field, which was lit up with floodlights. Dozens of emergency vehicles were on scene. American Red Cross crews from across Texas were being sent to the site.

It's unclear what caused the explosion.

West is just north of Waco. The explosion could be heard 45 miles away in Waxahachie. A nearby resident said the blast was like being in a tornado because "stuff was flying everywhere." Debbi Marak says her windshield was blown out.

Texas Governor Rick Perry issued a statement late Wednesday night. It reads:

"We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident. We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene."

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