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The Fox News alert and -- -- -- greater Washington DC and we continue our coverage in these early morning hours it is almost 4 AM eastern time we've been watching.
The developing story out of west Texas where we -- right around 8 PM last night an explosion.
Lets you hundreds of injuries and they are number of people still in hospitals.
Casey Stegall is near the scene in west Texas Casey can you tell us.
How close are you able to get and continues now that they chemical that -- I can see -- -- around I didn't know -- -- camera it's nice CEO.
I tell us haven't seen that now this morning.
Yeah Elizabeth that's not although we were talking about as we -- driving in long interstate 35 from Dallas side is not.
Really noticeable right here where I'm -- the wind is picking up there are -- a potential severe storms forecasted.
Here in the next couple of hours and that is of course concerning some of the firefighters and emergency crews as the winds pick up and continue to.
-- these chemical fumes that are in the air from this plant but this is as close as they are letting.
The media get and it is not very close were a couple of miles from where this blast happened but this is still -- very dangerous situation although if there is a silver lining.
We did just get a briefing moments ago from a police spokesperson who says that the fire at the fertilizer plant itself.
Appears to be under control at this hour.
That of course is good and it is under control to the a point where they can lead in a couple of firefighters to try and do some damage assessments but what is happening right now as we speak.
They are going home to home to home.
Trying to see if anyone needs rescuing or if anyone.
Has lost their life because at this point they are not confirming any numbers in terms of fatalities that came out of this earlier in the evening we heard.
The director of the emergency management services here saying that the fatality count could go as high as seven.
No one has really confirmed or substantiated that information for us.
Quite frankly they tell us that they're just going to have to wait until the sun starts to come up which is still several hours away until they can really get in there and get a better feel.
For how much damage was done.
How many people lost their life in this massive explosion.
And how many people remain injured.
We are hearing reports that some people could still remained trapped in their homes so what those emergency crews are doing.
Is there going through and then once they sweep a home there putting and acts kind of like we saw during Hurricane Katrina there spray painting.
An -- to to verify that that home has been checked.
And whether someone was recovered from their someone had to go to the hospital.
We're hearing upwards of a 175.
People can you imagine.
Injured in this explosion.
From broken bones to inhalation injuries a local hospitals hospitals as far away as Dallas eighty miles from this location.
Were receiving patients about nine medical helicopters.
Landed here throughout the evening transporting of course the most critical.
So again this is still a very fluid situation at this point but also some new information new troubling information.
Coming into us the Associated Press is reporting that this particular fertilizer plant was cited.
By the Texas commission of environmental quality.
In June of 2006.
For failing to obtain or qualify for a permit.
What -- that what that exactly.
We're still trying to flush that out and no doubt that information is going to be coming out later today as we get.
More details on -- the chemical safety board is is is en route.
From Washington DC that is a federal agency that goes in and investigates.
Chemical industrial chemical accidents.
They have assembled a team to come here and try to get to the bottom of this the Dallas morning news newspaper has also reported.
That at this particular plant there were some.
Pounds of and hydrants ammonia that is a very volatile chemical.
And the press briefing that we had a short time ago they were saying that.
Before the explosion there was already a fire burning at this plant.
-- the firefighters.
Even -- local EMS and police were on the scene trying to get that fire under control a fire that may have been burning.
Either under or in the vicinity.
Of those and Haider's ammonia tanks.
-- the folks there on the ground had already expressed interest that there was a potential danger.
Associated with that and then the next thing you know.
This explosion reported reports of fireballs.
Ninety to a hundred feet in the air and I know the video surfaced on YouTube but I know we've now been showing Elizabeth but.
It's something that just gives you chills from the bottom of your -- to the -- your head when you see that you hear how loud it is and you know.
You know it doesn't fully translate on camera and experiencing that blast in person and how -- literally blew the person -- who was building it back.
With the right Boehner there Smartphone.
You can only imagine what it was like in person to witness experience.
And feel it Elizabeth but no doubt tragedy unfolding here in west Texas.
Absolutely and I think -- he say tragedy unfolding at.
This is certainly get -- develop as the morning continues we spoke with the CEO of one of the medical -- Providence that he told us the injuries that he's seeing.
One of them being critical but other then being a lot of broken bones out we are seeing of people with scrapes and minor abrasions.
But a lot of people are talking about the respiratory illness from this and high -- ammonia.
And Mikey said that at it's it could be shifting so that eight to ten block radius could be shifting.
Anywhere from fifteen to twenty miles away and we know that the wind shifts could be.
Could be changing pattern so this is a story that's -- -- not not only with those injuries.
And add the very sad reporting that -- is inevitable with the fatalities to -- the police say that there are fatalities.
But the fact that the injuries will also continue with his respiratory illness.
Are people being evacuated at this point in other areas that you're aware of by chance.
Right now it's mostly to the south this happen in this -- her of downtown.
West Texas -- we're not talking about geographically speaking west we're talking about.
The town is called west Texas and it's about twenty miles north of Waco.
And about eighty miles south of Dallas and the firefighters had said that this happened in the downtown.
And the winds are blowing to the south so all the people south.
Is that the wind was really carrying those chemical.
Fumes and the concern has been that in the next few hours around 7:8 o'clock in the morning.
That these winds are gonna shift to the door and and if that happens then obviously the people up who wins north of the location.
Could be in danger so obviously they're looking at the wetter weather patterns very closely as well.
And monitoring that situation because again it's not just the fires it's not just.
The smoldering debris that that they're concerned about it is this chemical that appears to be -- lingering in the -- Elizabeth.
Now I want ahead for summer viewers who are -- just tuning in you've been reporting all night you left from Dallas late last night and traveled through the early morning hours.
And you learn more and more about dean -- efforts initially there were some challenge is because.
There really was -- no fly zone over this toxic plume.
But then you mentioned that there rep denying medical helicopters and they they have to get folks samples hospitals.
Not only locally but like you mentioned across this stayed.
And feminine going as far as -- that ironically is where you came from but.
And I'm not mistaken you mentioned it was because of -- burn unit -- so.
Are we getting a good gauge I'm not only the response efforts -- -- but also the extent of the potential damages that we could see.
And as the morning comes up.
Yeah you know and some the DPS department of public safety officials.
Said in -- press conference earlier.
That it looks like a battlefield in there it looks like a war zone blocks.
Of this community.
-- level it's basically there was an apartment complex a relatively small complex.
Now we've heard that it's about fifty units that was close by.
And the word he used to describe what is left of that that unit is a skeleton so we don't know about the folks that lived.
In there and how many people were home.
At the time of this blast there was also a nursing home nearby with more than a hundred elderly residents that called that location home.
And initial reports were that this nursing home collapsed and that they had to be upholds from the rubble.
Earlier they said.
That they would not speculate in terms of how many of the injured came from that nursing home or how many of the fatalities came from that nursing home.
But we know that we know that there were also businesses in the area and we know that there were a number of homes as well so.
Really the focus has been as I said it's still very much a search and rescue.
Slash search recovery mission underway as they go home to home business to business trying to make sure people are alive and if they need medical attention getting them out of here.
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