Debris litters fields around a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on Thursday, April 18, 2013. Much of the small town suffered damage when the plant caught fire causing a massive explosion Wednesday night. Authorities are still trying to determine the death and injury toll.
April 18th, 2013
04:43 PM ET
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(CNN) – Welcome to CNN Radio News Day.
- Search and rescue efforts continue today in West, Texas. Much of the small town was flattened last night by a huge explosion at a fertilizer plant. It was a blast so strong it registered as a magnitude 2.1 earthquake. A number of first responders, including firefighters, were already at the plant, battling a fire that broke-out hours earlier. As many as 15 people are estimated dead, with more than 160 hurt. A dangerous component of fertilizer production is commercial nitrogen. Emory University chemistry professor Doug Mulford says it's the process to isolate usable nitrogen that's tricky, even though it's all around us:
"We have to get it in a form that usable, and that's what they were doing at the West, Texas plant and other chemical fertilizer plants." FULL POST