Mayor: Fire crews were at Texas plant before blast

Posted at 4:27 AM, Apr 18, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-18 05:34:24-04

WEST, Texas (AP) - The mayor of West, Texas, says volunteer firefighters went to fight a fire at a fertilizer plant about a half-hour before a massive explosion tore through it and damaged surrounding buildings.

Mayor Tommy Muska says he's a volunteer firefighter himself and his helmet was knocked off when the explosion tore through the West Fertilizer plant at 6:50 p.m. Wednesday.

Muska says the blast badly damaged buildings for a five-block radius around the plant, including a nearby intermediate school and the Rest Haven nursing home. The nursing home's 133 residents were safely evacuated, and sent to the West community center.

Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center says at least 66 people were taken there for treatment, including some who were seriously hurt.

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