The massive explosion at a West, Texas fertilizer plant left more than 160 people injured, devastating the small town.
Authorities are still searching for survivors, with the death toll unclear. “Number one priority is to rescue and save lives in the event. We can do that,” said Sergeant Patrick Swanton, of the Waco Police Department.
An apartment complex was left destroyed, and homes were turned to rubble. Daylight aerial photos show smoke billowing from the plant even hours after the explosion.
Texas Governor Rick Perry declared McLennan County a disaster Thursday. “Last night was truly a nightmare scenario. Anyone that grew up like your dad did in a small town like West knows that this tragedy has most likely hit every family. It's touched practically everyone in that town,” he said.
One West resident describes what the blast felt like, “it was like a bomb. It like, picked you up, it just took your breath away. And then, it dropped you and it exploded everything around you.”
The blast was so big, it registered as a 2.1-magnitude seismic event.
As authorities investigate what caused the explosion, a community is left to heal.
“Beat up, hurts, but I'm alive so I'm happy,” Kevin Smith said.