Streams

Death Toll In West, Texas, Fertilizer Explosion Rises To 15

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The number of people who died in a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, last week now stands at 15, officials said Tuesday. Some earlier reports had indicated that 14 people had lost their lives. At least 200 more were injured.

In Waco, TV station KXXV says that officials believe they have found all the victims, quoting Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek saying "No more victims. Everything is searched," in a news conference today.

The latest death toll comes as investigators continue to study the catastrophe and the fire that preceded it. The explosion left a crater 93 feet wide and 10 feet deep, investigators said Tuesday.

State and federal investigators working at the scene have eliminated natural causes — such as a lightning strike — as a potential spark for the fire, according to The Dallas Morning News.

As we reported Monday, authorities are still in the process of publicly identifying people who were killed in the blast; the majority of them were first responders.

After fleeing their homes in an evacuation and then being forced to stay away by safety concerns and a continuing investigation, the first wave of West residents were allowed to return to their damaged homes Saturday.

The White House announced Monday that President Obama will attend a memorial service for the explosion's victims, to be held Thursday at Baylor University. The president has declared the West, Texas, site a federal disaster area.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Source: NPR

Tags:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.