[UPDATE] Rescue workers are searching rubble for survivors of a fertilizer plant explosion in a small Texas town that killed as many as 15 and injured more than 160. The blast left the factory a smoldering ruin and leveled homes and businesses for blocks in every direction. The explosion occurred at the West Fertilizer Plant shortly before 8 PM CT Wednesday evening.

Local hospitals have been flooded with patients and the state government is mobilizing emergency aid for the area.

Firefighters were putting out a blaze at the plant when the explosion occurred. Since the explosion, officials have been evacuating buildings and homes in the surrounding area.

The explosion reached a local nursing home and some people may have been trapped inside.

"It was a like a nuclear bomb went off," Mayor Tommy Muska told CNN. "Big old mushroom cloud. There are a lot of people that got hurt. There are a lot of people that will not be here tomorrow."

West Mayor Pro-tem Steve Vanek told the Waco Tribune, when asked about the status of the firefighters who were battling the fire when the explosion took place: “I fear for the worst, but I’m praying for the best.”

Footage of plant explosion [language warning]

 Local news coverage

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