Dozens have been injured in a fertilizer plant explosion in Waco, TX, MSNBC reports. Power was knocked out to around 2000 customers and it will be several hours before power is restored. A middle school is on fire and a nursing home has been damaged.
We do not know what caused the explosion. But thoughts and prayers are with victims and the families. The Waco Tribune reports that every house within four blocks has been "knocked apart." What is happening to this country? Will post updates as they come in.
8:09 PM PT: Multiple conflicting reports about number of injuries. Some sources say 60 injuries, others say hundreds.
8:13 PM PT: Anonymous reports on Twitter that evacuations are already underway.
8:16 PM PT: NYC ARECS @nycarecs
(An amateur radio group)
Police in street wearing respirators as noxious gas is in the air, while crowds of civilians have no masks. FFs and PD fleeing area
8:17 PM PT: 254-202-1100 for people searching for loved ones in #Waco
8:21 PM PT: Tweets report Red Cross crews are on their way to West and Waco.
8:22 PM PT: One tweet is claiming that a 14 mile radius is being affected by the explosion, which they say is bigger than a nuclear warhead.
8:31 PM PT: CNN, which is covering Waco, cut to Boston and quoted the FBI as saying they had two suspects but couldn't show the pictures. Huh?
8:33 PM PT: Explosion was felt as far as 40 miles away according to one tweet.
8:36 PM PT: One tweeter quoted Channel 2 as reporting 60 dead -- I hope not. The media is being taken to task for covering Boston when we have an ongoing tragedy in Waco.
8:40 PM PT: Tweet: US National Weather Service reports plume of toxic smoke going toward Fort Worth.
8:43 PM PT: Toxic chemicals in nitrogenous fertilizer facilities include ammonia, nitric acid vapor, gaseous formaldehyde, and urea or AN dust.
8:45 PM PT: Channel 2 reports people feeling the explosion 70 miles away.
8:46 PM PT: CNN reports a second unexploded tank that could go at any minute.
8:54 PM PT: People on Twitter are asking for answers. We don't know what caused these explosions yet. The conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this one, but this is not the time for it.
8:56 PM PT: School buses being brought in to help evacuate the town of West.
9:09 PM PT: On Twitter, follow @CenTexRedCross for updates on shelter locations
9:16 PM PT: Hazardous chemicals prevent responders from freeing people that are trapped in collapsed buildings -- Tweet
9:18 PM PT: 70% chance of thunderstorms in the area; winds out of the SSE at 21 mph. Not good.
9:20 PM PT: Piers Morgan trying to get his CNN guests to commit to a death count.
9:26 PM PT: Tweet -- Lady on CNN says her house was 3 blocks away and her house is totally destroyed. Lost her dogs too.
9:27 PM PT: Channel 7 now saying "hundreds" injured.
9:32 PM PT: Twitter user posted hearing on radio that National Guard now put on standby.
9:35 PM PT: Victory Life Church in Waco is opening a shelter for all those who are displaced and need a place to stay.
9:38 PM PT: "Damion Meredith:" -- "Ammonium nitrate is a highly combustible compound if ignited. Maybe it's time to look into other nitrogen-based fertilisers?" -- Twitter
9:39 PM PT: The video of the child whose hearing was disabled by the explosion is going viral on Twitter.
9:43 PM PT: One poster notes that West Texas has a tiny volunteer fire department with only 33 firefighters.
9:45 PM PT: Finally a piece of good news. One poster reports firefighters shrinking the HotZone, moving the unmanned hose lines closer to the destroyed area.
9:54 PM PT: Back from a bathroom break.
The Home Depot store in Bellmead will be open all night for those who need plywood, generators, etc.
9:59 PM PT: CNN now sending multiple teams to Waco.
10:02 PM PT: Carter Blood Care Center will accept donations beginning at 9am Thursday.
10:18 PM PT: Word of the explosion is going all over the world. More and more tweets are in other languages.
10:21 PM PT: One poster says that Cell service is limited to emergency calls only in #West TX. I don't know -- in Boston, there were people saying that it was limited; however, it turned out that the service was just overloaded.
I'll make a couple of edits here and then update in the new post for a while before going to bed.