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Dozens Injured in Fertilizer Factory Blast Near Waco

11:13 PM, Apr 17, 2013   |    comments
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WACO, Texas (AP) - An explosion Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant in central Texas is sending flames shooting high into the night sky. The plant, in the town of West, left the factory a smoldering ruin, caused major damage to nearby buildings and injured dozens of people.

West is just north of Waco. The explosion could be heard as far away as Waxahachie (wahks-uh-HA'-chee), 45 miles away. 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. She and her family fled after being told there could be another explosion.

More than two hours after the blast, there were still fires smoldering in what was left of the plant and others burning in nearby buildings. In aerial footage from Dallas' NBC affiliate, KXAS-TV, dozens of emergency vehicles could be seen amassed at the scene. The explosion knocked out power to many area customers and could be heard and felt for miles around.

Authorities have set up a staging area on the local high school's football field, which was lit up with floodlights.

American Red Cross crews from across Texas were being sent to the site.

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