Texas fertiliser plant blast: Survivors tell their stories

One local doctor: 'The whole street is gone'
  • @James_Legge

Between five and 15 people have been killed and hundreds of others injured after a massive explosion at a fertiliser plant in the small town of West, in Central Texas. Below, residents tell of what they've seen.

D.L. Wilson, a state trooper with the Texas Department of Public Safety (pictured above):

“I can tell you I was there, I walked through the blast area, I searched some houses earlier tonight. It was massive, just like Iraq, just like the Murrah building in Oklahoma City (which was hit in 1995 by a bomb which killed 168).”

Jason Shelton, 33, a father-of-two who lives less than a mile from the plant:

"My windows started rattling and my kids screaming.

"The screen door hit me in the forehead... and all the screens blew off my windows."

Crystal Ledane, who fled with her children after the explosion blew out the doors and windows of her home:

"We just jumped in the car in what we had on. None of us had any shoes on, we just got out of there. Everything is just completely chaotic.

"I’ve heard from firefighters... from their families... that they didn’t make it. You could just hear screaming through the town.

"It is a very close-knit town, everyone has grown up around here. This town is going to be dealing with this for many, many years to come. We’re all going to be affected greatly by this tragedy."

Erick Perez, 21, who was playing basketball at a nearby school when the fire started:

"I was about 200ft (60.9 metres) from the explosion. We were playing basketball and then they told us to move out, so we moved out to the school and we're sitting there watching the fire, and obviously a big old explosion happened.

"And then we hit the deck and ran out of there as fast as we could.

"I haven't stopped shaking since the whole thing happened. It was a giant force of pressure just pushing me back. And there was shrapnel flying everywhere from the explosion. It's probably the worst thing I've ever seen in my life."

A young man in a blood-soaked t-shirt told reporters at the scene:

"The school’s gone, the apartments are gone. It’s just horrible. Not something you ever want to have to deal with.”

Local doctor George Smith told reporters:

“There was just a major, major explosion. The windows came in on me, the roof came in on me, the ceiling came in. We lost all communication when the power went out.”

“The whole street is gone."

McLennan County Sheriff Parnell McNamara:

"It's a lot of devastation. I've never seen anything like this. It looks like a war zone with all the debris."