Valley emergency crews on standby for West plant explosion

South Texas Emergency Care Paramedics // File Photo

Details are still emerging regarding a fertilizer plant explosion in West, a small city located just north of Waco, Texas.

At this moment, fire crews here in the Rio Grande Valley are on standy in case assistance is required in the affected areas.

Edinburg Fire Chief, Shawn Snider told Action 4 News he received notice from the Chief of Division of Emergency Management that all resources in this area should be on standby.

Officials with South Texas Emergency Care in Harlingen said their paramedics are also on standby.

According to the local chapter of the American Red Cross, they are also awaiting to see if a Valley crew is needed.

Explosion Investigation

Police said it's not clear how many people remain trapped in the rubble after that explosion that killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160 others.

They also said emergency crews remain in "search and rescue mode," going building to building in the largely decimated neighborhood surrounding the plant. Some firefighters are among those still missing.

Authorities said that the call regarding a fire at the plant came in at 7:29 p.m., followed by a call of an explosion less than 30 minutes later at 7:53 p.m.

Reports indicate over 100 people have been taken to different area hospitals.

Evacuated Town

The entire town has been evacuated because of concerns of a secondary tank explosion and also because of the smell of ammonia in the air.

The United States Geology Survey said the explosion registered as the size of a 2.1 magnitude earthquake.

A statement was sent Thursday morning from President Barack Obama regarding this tragic event:

Today our prayers go out to the people of West, Texas in the aftermath of last night TMs deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant. A tight-knit community has been shaken, and good, hard-working people have lost their lives. I want to thank the first responders who worked tirelessly through the night to contain the situation and treat the wounded. My Administration, through FEMA and other agencies, is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure there are no unmet needs as search and rescue and response operations continue. West is a town that many Texans hold near and dear to their hearts, and as residents continue to respond to this tragedy, they will have the support of the American people.