National News

Apr 18, 2013 3:55 PM by NBC News

Fertilizer plant explosion levels several blocks of tiny Texas town

Texas governor Rick Perry is calling the explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, Texas a "nightmare scenario".

The plant caught fire Wednesday night then suddenly exploded, leveling several nearby residential blocks.

Preliminary estimates are ten to 15 people were killed , but that number could go higher as rescue crews search the rubble of nearby homes and businesses.

More than 160 people were injured.

Cameras were rolling and captured the power of the blast as it happened.

Derrick Hurtt and his daughter were recording the fire at the time of the explosion.

"I thought it killed both of us really, to be honest with you," Hurtt said afterward.

Several volunteer firefighters battling the initial blaze were caught up in the explosion and are now missing. The blast destroyed a four block area around the plant, that included 50 to 75 homes, an apartment complex and nursing home which was being evacuated.

The search for survivors is being hampered by the unstable conditions of many of the homes and buildings.

It is still to soon to know caused the initial fire or the explosion.

Last year federal regulators fined the company that operates the plant for safety violations.

The ATF's National Elite Response Team has been called in to investigate.

» There are multiple updates to this story. Please click here to get the latest information.

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