12 bodies recovered from Texas town after fertilizer plant blast

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NBC News
Associated Press

Rescue workers recovered 12 bodies from the area around a fertilizer plant which was destroyed in a massive explosion that virtually flattened a small Texas town, police said on Friday.

"With a heavy heart I can confirm 12 people have been recovered deceased," Sgt. Jason Reyes said at a brief press conference.

"With a heavy heart I can confirm 12 people have been recovered deceased," Sgt. Jason Reyes said at a brief press conference.

The explosion occurred just before 8 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET) on Wednesday in West, Texas, which is a few miles north of Waco. The scene was described by witnesses as looking like a bombing site in a war zone.

Officials had said that as many as 15 people were thought to have been killed in the blast, but the town's mayor said that number could double. At least 160 people were injured.

Reyes added that at least 50 homes had been damaged and said no-one was being allowed in the area.

He thanked the search and rescue crews for their "professionalism and heroism as they try to bring closure."

Earlier story (from the Associated Press):

WEST, Texas (AP) - The neighborhood surrounding a Texas fertilizer plant that erupted in a thunderous explosion is gone, and the residents here know they've lost more than the buildings that went up in flames.
   
Even as investigators were tight-lipped about the number of dead from the blast - authorities say more than 160 are injured but have not yet released a firm death toll - the names of the dead are becoming known in the town of 2,800, even if they haven't been officially released.
   
Initial reports put the fatalities from Wednesday's blast as high as 15, but later Thursday, authorities backed off any estimate.
   
Residents head toward the weekend hoping they'll be allowed back into their homes near the site where Thursday search and rescue teams continued to pick through the rubble.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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