A total of 262 people were injured by the fire and subsequent explosion that broke out on April 17, 2013 at the West Fertilizer Co. plant in West, TX, according to an official report issued by McLennan County’s health department and the Texas Department of State Health Services.
The plant had reserves of ammonium nitrate. The fire subsequently caused an explosion that killed 15 individuals and directly injured at least an additional 252 individuals. The explosion caused extensive damage to the homes, businesses, and schools near the plant. The explosion was registered as 2.1 on the Richter magnitude scale and left a 10 feet deep and 90 feet wide crater at the site. After the explosion, residents of the neighborhood surrounding the plant were ordered out of their homes for up to 10 days.
Fifteen patients were killed by injuries directly as a result of the explosion. Fourteen died at the time of the explosion; one died a short time later. All fatalities resulted from fractures, blunt force trauma, or blast force injuries sustained at the time of the explosion. Ten firefighters and two civilians responding to assist were killed. Two residents of a nearby apartment complex and one resident of the nursing home also died. The decedents ranged in age from 26 to 96 years; 14 were males.
Of the 262 patients with non-fatal injuries, 61% were women. Average age was 53.6 years, with a range of less than one year to 98 years. Over one quarter (72; 28%) of the injured patients were residents of the West Rest Haven nursing home. The nursing home census at the time of the explosion was 130 people; therefore the explosion led to injuries in 55% of the residents.
There were 252 patients directly injured by the explosion; the remaining 10 patients were injured after the explosion during clean-up or by debris in the neighborhood.