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Updated Apr 18, 2013 - 5:03 am

Mayor: Fire crews were at Texas plant before blast

WEST, Texas (AP) – The mayor of West, Texas, says volunteer firefighters went to fight a fire at a fertilizer plant about a half-hour before a massive explosion tore through it and damaged surrounding buildings.

Mayor Tommy Muska says he’s a volunteer firefighter himself and his helmet was knocked off when the explosion tore through the West Fertilizer plant around 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Muska says the blast badly damaged buildings for a five-block radius around the plant, including a nearby middle school and nursing home. He says the nursing home’s 133 residents were safely evacuated.

A Waco hospital official says at least 66 people were taken there for treatment, including some who were seriously hurt.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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