The situation remains volatile at a Texas fertilizer facility that exploded late on Wednesday because of the presence of an extremely hazardous material, ammonium nitrate, a police spokesman said on Thursday.
Authorities gave no new estimate of casualties, which has been put at between 5 and 15. Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Jason Reyes said search and rescue efforts were still under way.
Officials in Texas fear the death toll will climb as they search through the rubble of a fertilizer plant that was devastated by an earthquake-size explosion, which rocked the town of West, about 20 miles north of Waco, shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday. The blast leveled dozens of homes, killing at least five people, injuring more than 160 and spewing toxic fumes that forced the evacuation of half the community, authorities said.
Public safety officials said they expected to find more bodies as teams comb through the rubble of the demolished plant and surrounding homes.
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"I've never seen anything like this," McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara said. "It looks like a war zone with all the debris."