UPDATE: West, Texas Plant Explosion
The massive explosion that blew apart the town of West, Texas late Wednesday evening registered 2.1 on the Richter Scale and could be felt as far as 65 miles away. Seconds after the explosion, a huge mushroom cloud resembling that of old photos of nuclear blasts could be seen miles away.
At the time of this posting, authorities are saying the death toll is between 5 and 15, but stress that it could climb to as many as 70. To add to the misery, police are getting reports of looting as people sift through the remains of what use to be neighboring homes. The blast leveled a 6 block area, leaving nothing standing from the force of the blast.
Gov. Rick Perry will hold a press conference on the incident at 11:45 AM. In a statement released Wednesday, Perry said his "thoughts and prayers" were with West residents and first responders.
We are deeply saddened to learn of the horrific explosion in West, Texas. We grieve for those who are injured and have lost loved ones, and are grateful to the firefighters and first responders who risked their own lives to keep others safe. Today we ask all Texans to keep West in their thoughts and prayers. We remain in communication with Gov. Perry's office and emergency management officials, and stand to offer whatever support we can. - Joint statement with Sen. John Cornyn on West, TX fertilizer plant explosion.
The explosion was caught on cell phone by someone a few hundred yards from the burning plant. In the terrifying video, it appears that the family is far enough away, until the explosion's fireball instantly rushes toward the camera.
Watch the cell phone video that captures the massive explosion: