A huge explosion at a fertiliser plant near Waco in the US state of Texas has left as many as 60 to 70 dead, scores of people injured and others are trapped in burning buildings, according to local media.
KWTX television cited West Emergency Management Services Director George Smith as confirming the death toll.
However, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, D.L. Wilson, told Reuters the blast had resulted in “probably hundreds of casualties,” without confirming the exact number.
He added that a nearby nursing home collapsed from the explosion and that people were believed to be trapped inside.
The blast was reported at about 8 p.m. CDT (0100 GMT on Thursday) in West, a town of some 2,700 people about 80 miles south of Dallas and 20 miles north of Waco.
All the wounded have been taken to hospital and search is on for more people
Governor Rick Perry issued a statement saying: “We are monitoring developments and gathering information as details continue to emerge about this incident. We have also mobilized state resources to help local authorities. Our thoughts and prayers are with the people of West, and the first responders on the scene.”
The explosion comes two days days after the United States deadly explosions hit the Boston marathon on Monday killing three people and wounding more than 100 others.