Texas Plant Blast Kills Up to 15, Injures Hundreds

BY News Desk  April 18, 2013 at 6:54 AM EST

Local roofer Tony LeNoir explains how he’s helping the small Texas town of West recover after a fertilizer plant exploded Wednesday evening.

A massive explosion tore through the West Fertilizer Co. plant in the town of West, in central Texas near Waco, on Wednesday injuring more than 100, destroying several buildings, and sending potentially toxic fumes into the air, according to authorities.

Waco police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton described ongoing search-and-rescue efforts as “tedious and time-consuming,” noting crews had to shore up much of the wreckage before going in.

Area resident Tony LeNoir, a local roofer, rushed into action as soon as he heard about the explosion. He posted an offer of help on his company’s Facebook page: “Anyone in West that needs tarps or plywood call my office … We have crews ready to help. No charge people!”

Shortly after posting, LeNoir, 44, went toward the site and began using plywood to stabilize collapsing buildings and board up windows and doors that had been blown out by the blast.

“We’re lost for words right now. We’re still trying to find people. People are missing,” LeNoir told the PBS NewsHour. “It’s like a tornado hit. It’s like a warzone.”

Police say there is no evidence of foul play.

Media sources are continuing to update the situation.

PBS NewsHour Desk Assistant Laura Sciuto contributed to this report.