A huge explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, left as many as 15 people dead and more than 160 injured as the earthquake-like blast sent fire and embers into the air and leveled scores of homes in a four-block area, police said Thursday.
The blast, which rocked the ground with the force of a magnitude 2.1 earthquake, could be felt as far as 45 miles away.
Officials said there was no initial indication that the blast was anything but an industrial accident, although ATF agents were on the scene investigating the explosion.
Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said at a mid-morning briefing that initial reports indicated that the fire and blast may have involved a railroad tanker carrying anhydrous ammonia, an odorless gas that is used in making fertilizer.
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