Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Powerful Explosion Rattles Small Town of West, Texas (Updated)

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

UPDATE (12:15am): A Texas Department of Public Safety official says there were fatalities in a massive explosion in the town of West, Texas Wednesday evening. 50 to 75 homes were damaged, along with a 50-unit apartment complex, in the explosion at a fertilizer plant there.

DPS Trooper D.L. Wilson says all of the roughly 100 people injured have been removed from the scene. He could not say how many people may have died in the blast, though he did say there were fatalities.

In an early morning press conference, Wilson described the devastation from the explosion, comparing it to bombings in Iraq or the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing of a federal building. 

UPDATE (11:30pm): The mayor of the small town of West, north of Waco, says he does not yet know how many people may have been killed or wounded in a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant there.

Mayor Tommy Muska says there was a fire at the West Fertilizer Co. before the explosion around 8 p.m.

A hospital near Waco says more than 60 patients were brought there in the hours immediately after the blast, 38 of them seriously wounded.

People trying to locate friends and family are being told to call 254-202-1100.

Governor Rick Perry issued at statement saying he's mobilized state resources to help local responders. 

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene," Perry's statement adds.

EARLIER: An explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas, approximately 20 miles north of Waco, is said to have laid waste to parts of the small town.

WFAA Dallas/Fort Worth reportsthe explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Plant shortly after 8 p.m. The station cites a source stating “a large swath of the small town with a population of 2,800 has been leveled.”


CNN reportsthat Hillcrest Hospital in Waco, Texas “has been told to anticipate 100 injured people coming in from the fertilizer plant area.”

Multiple reports say the tiny town was ill-equipped for an explosion of this magnitude. The Dallas Morning News writes the explosion has left “people trapped and buildings on fire.” There is no definitive word on causalities at this time.

Below, a Storify timeline complied by KVUE. [View the story "Fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas" on Storify]

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.