NEW YORK, April 18 (Itar-Tass) – From 60 to 70 people died, hundreds are wounded in the blast, which rocked a fertilizer plant in the U.S. city West, Texas, on Wednesday evening, the local television channel KWTX reported.
KWTX cited head of the city rescue service George Smith, who said that firemen and policemen are among the casualties. Forty injured people are estimated to be in critical condition. Meanwhile, several media reported that the death of only six people was confirmed.
The explosion went off at the moment, when the firemen were putting out a little fire at a fertilizer plant, which West Fertilizer owns. The blast wave damaged tens of neighbouring buildings, including a school, an elderly home and a multi-storey apartment block.
The authorities announced the forced evacuation of people from West over the spreading of the toxic agents in the air. There is also a danger that the fire is still raging at the plant, where another blast may go off.
The eyewitnesses said that the explosion was so strong that it was felt at a distance of 25 kilometres from the plant. Over 1,000 people remained without power supplies.
West, where about 2,700 people live, is situated 145 kilometres north of Austin, the Texas capital and 130 kilometres south of Dallas.