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2:15 AM West, Texas Press Conference Highlights

This is going to be quick and dirty. I'm just taking notes. The speaker is William Patrick Swanton-- Public Information Officer for Waco PD and the City of Waco. Brought in to assist and speak for the West EMS and disaster relief efforts. He's got this thing under control. Obviously a pro.

7:00 -- fire started at West Fertilizer in downtown West. Firefighters responded at that time. Fire intensified. Evacuations began before explosion took place.
7:50 -- explosion took place fifty minutes after initial response.

"Quite a bit of devastation in that area." Victims in homes, nursing home, and apartment complex. Waco and McLennan County began responding when West asked, along with area EMS and disaster response services. Wounded taken to Abbott HS for triage. Extreme devastation in homes, with people still being removed from homes and businesses at this time. Waco Hillcrest and Providence are the primary hospitals in the area, with Hillcrest serving as the primary trauma center. Evacuations continue at this time.

Firefighters and possibly one law enforcement officer may be unaccounted for at this time. No hard number of fatalities. People are still being removed from homes and buildings. Number of fatalities will probably rise through the night as more areas are fully searched. Tremendous outpouring of support from community, including the surrounding areas. West is a very tightly-knit community that appreciates the support. McLennan County has responded, along with other counties in Central Texas and places as far away as Austin and Dallas.

Law enforcement command center set up, along with incident response center. Swanton was brought in to help coordinate the information from several groups.

Small contingent of firefighters returned to the facility because of concern over a secondary explosion, which they do not believe is a threat any longer. Some firefighters are confirmed missing, number unknown.

Reported that a helicopter on the scene sustained some kind of damage, not confirmed.

Genesis of the fire unknown at this point, whether arson-related or some kind of accident. Analysis in progress of the chemicals in the air and the potential for a wind shift to cause those chemicals to change path. Air quality is a concern at this point.

Closed by asking media not to leave the designated area for their own personal safety.


I'm headed to bed soon, so there may not be any more updates unless they happen in the next few minutes.