Entries in Fertilizer (2)


Rescuers Searching for Survivors, Missing People After TX Explosion

Mike Fuentes/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WEST, Texas) -- Search and rescue teams in Texas are looking for survivors and missing people amid buildings where walls and roofs have been torn away and other buildings have been flattened by an explosion at a fertilizer plant. Firefighters are among the missing and authorities fear that five to 15 people could be dead.

"It ranges from broken windows to complete devastation," Waco Police Department Sgt. William Swanton said at a news conference Thursday. "There are homes that are no longer homes."

At some buildings, "walls were ripped off, roofs were peeled back," the sergeant said.

The fire and explosion Wednesday night in a small town north of Waco prompted widespread evacuations and sent more than 160 injured people to hospitals.

The blast at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas, occurred just before 8 p.m., but officials still were struggling to tally the dead and injured early Thursday morning and searching door-to-door amid the rubble for survivors, police said.

Authorities expressed concerns on Thursday about looting, but now say they believe what was initially reported to them was an isolated incident.

"I have confirmed at least there was an incident last night when they thought they may have had a looter," Swanton said, adding that the incident occurred "very, very early in the scenario."

He said there was no arrest and the problem is "not rampant," but people are still being kept out of the main disaster area.

Swanton said the five to 15 deaths is a "rough number" and they are unverified.

"I don't have a number of how many they have rescued or how many potential bodies they have found," he said.

"There are still firefighters missing," Swanton said.

He said an estimated three or four who are missing are volunteer firefighters, "meaning that they probably have a very large contingent of people that are willing to risk their lives for the neighbors and community."

They are the first responders who were battling the fire when the explosion occurred, he said.

A firefighter and law enforcement officer who was previously mentioned as missing has been found, Swanton said. He is in a hospital with "pretty serious injuries," he added.

Swanton said authorities are still in search-and-rescue mode and are not yet in recovery mode.

"The town is secure. There are plenty of law enforcement officials that are stationed around the town," Swanton said. "There is no fire out of control. There is no chemical escape from the fertilizer plant that is out of control."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Explosives Licensees Warned ahead of 9/11 Anniversary

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives(WASHINGTON) -- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has sent a letter to individuals and businesses that are permitted to handle explosives in the United States as the 9/11 anniversary approaches reminding them to be vigilant about the security of their explosive products and stockpiles.

A letter was sent last week to the 11,000 ATF explosives licensees and permittees who work with fireworks and commercial explosives at demolition and mining companies.

The letter asserts that while there is no threat information concerning the upcoming 9/11 anniversary, individuals and businesses authorized to use explosives should increase their security measures to prevent theft.

“While the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has received no specific threat information associated with the anniversary to date, we encourage you to exercise increased awareness and vigilance as the anniversary approaches. The security of your explosives storage sites is very important, and you should heighten your security precautions in light of the anniversary,” the letter from Arthur Herbert the ATF’s Assistant Director Enforcement Programs and Services stated.

This is not the first time the ATF has encouraged security over explosives. After the 9/11 attacks the ATF pushed to meet with all members of the explosives industry from manufacturers, demolition firms to firework companies.

According to the ATF, more than 85 percent of the explosives used in the U.S. are used for mining operations.

Following the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which was caused by a homemade bomb using ammonium nitrate fertilizer, the ATF established a partnership with The Fertilizer Institute to warn the agriculture industry about thefts or suspicious purchases of ammonium nitrate.

Under federal regulations, authorized users of explosives are required to report any theft to their stockpiles and stores.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio