In Brief

Deadly Texas Plant Explosion Registered as Seismic Event

A chemical fire and explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant near Waco Wednesday (April 17) evening could be felt 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) away, according to news reports. Estimates suggest the fire and explosion killed five to 15 individuals, injuring at least 180 others.

The blast registered as the equivalent of a 2.1-magnitude seismic event, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Witnesses said it burned buildings, flattened homes, blew out windows and even killed a neighbor's pet dog.

Officials are treating the blast site as a crime scene. "We are not indicating that it is a crime but we don't know," said Sgt. William Patrick Swanton of the Waco Police Department, according to Good Morning America. "What that means to us is that until we know that it is an industrial accident we will work it as a crime scene. ATF [the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] is conducting the main investigation."

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Jeanna Bryner
Live Science Editor-in-Chief

Jeanna served as editor-in-chief of Live Science. Previously, she was an assistant editor at Scholastic's Science World magazine. Jeanna has an English degree from Salisbury University, a master's degree in biogeochemistry and environmental sciences from the University of Maryland, and a graduate science journalism degree from New York University. She has worked as a biologist in Florida, where she monitored wetlands and did field surveys for endangered species. She also received an ocean sciences journalism fellowship from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.