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Texas's Fertilizer Plant Explosion

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Last week, while media attention was focused on Boston, a massive explosion took place at the West Fertilizer Company, in the small town of West, Texas. The blast damaged 150 buildings, including three of West's four schools, killed 14 people and injured more than 160 others. It was so powerful that it set off seismographs, registering as a 2.1-magnitude tremor. The cause remains unknown, and investigators are still sifting through the rubble. Today, about 1,500 West students returned to school, set up in makeshift classrooms or in nearby districts. [40 photos]

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The wreckage of a fertilizer plant burns after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas early April 18, 2013. The deadly explosion ripped through the fertilizer plant late on Wednesday, injuring more than 160 people, leveling dozens of homes and damaging other buildings including a school and nursing home, authorities said. (Reuters/Mike Stone)
The wreckage of a fertilizer plant burns after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas early April 18, 2013. The deadly explosion ripped through the fertilizer plant late on Wednesday, injuring more than 160 people, leveling dozens of homes and damaging other buildings including a school and nursing home, authorities said. (Reuters/Mike Stone)
In this Wednesday, April 17, 2013, photo provided by Joe Berti, a plume of smoke rises from a fertilizer plant fire near Waco, Texas. (AP Photo/Joe Berti) #
The burning wreckage of a fertilizer plant, after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, Texas, early April 18, 2013. (Reuters/Mike Stone) #
The burning remains of a silo that was part of a fertilizer plant, on April 18, 2013, after the plant exploded in West, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
Smoke rises as water is sprayed on the burning remains of a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (Reuters/Mike Stone) #
The remains of a fertilizer plant burn after an explosion in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (Reuters/Mike Stone) #
A fire burns in a destroyed apartment complex, near a fertilizer plant that exploded in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
Firefighters search an area destroyed by a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
The remains of a home burn in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. The massive explosion killed as many as 14 people and injured more than 160, shaking the ground with the strength of a small earthquake and leveling homes and businesses for blocks in every direction. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
Firefighters use flashlights to search a destroyed apartment complex in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
A chemical trailer sits among the rubble of a fertilizer plant burning after an explosion in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (Reuters/Mike Stone) #
A video image provided by WFAA-TV shows injured people being treated on a flood-lit high school football field, turned into a staging area after the blast in West Texas, on April 17, 2013. (AP Photo/WFAA-TV) #
Waco Police spokesperson William Swanton speaks at a media conference regarding an explosion at a fertilizer plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (Reuters/Mike Stone) #
Bryan Anderson holds a phone with a picture of his son Kaden Anderson from his hospital bed, before a press conference on Thursday, April 18, 2013, in West, Texas. The Andersons were in a truck near the fertilizer plant that exploded. (AP Photo/Ralph Lauer) #
Smoke still rises from the rubble of a house next to the fertilizer plant that exploded the day before, on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. (Erich Schlegel/Getty Images) #
A large piece of debris sits in a field after a massive explosion in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (Reuters/Mike Stone) #
Aerial view of the damage left behind by a massive explosion at the West Fertilizer Company, on April 18, 2013. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
The remains of the destroyed fertilizer plant, photographed on April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
An April 18, 2013, aerial photo of part of the fertilizer plant destroyed by an explosion in West, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) #
One of the numerous homes damaged by the explosion, on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
The explosion destroyed this playground across the street, shown from the air on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
A Dallas Regional Urban Search and Rescue Truck, parked by a destroyed apartment complex with emergency responders working the scene in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez) #
Firefighter check a children's bedroom during search and rescue efforts of an apartment complex destroyed by an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Thursday, April 18, 2013. A massive explosion at the plant killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160, officials said overnight. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
A damaged apartment complex, four days after an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on April 21, 2013. (AP Photo/The Dallas Morning News, Michael Ainsworth) #
Curtains fly out of a window broken by a fertilizer plant explosion well over a mile away from the house in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Ralph Lauer) #
A mounted deer head, inside a damaged car parked next to the apartment complex that was severely damaged by the explosion, on April 18, 2013, in West, Texas. (Erich Schlegel/Getty Images) #
A piece of debris from the fertilizer plant explosion sits in a field far from the blast zone in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/Ralph Lauer) #
Workers with Johnson Roofing cover up the window frames of Carol Anne Kocian's home with sheets of plywood on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. Kocian lives very close to the site of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion that blew out all the windows of her house Wednesday. (Erich Schlegel/Getty Images) #
Displaced residents wait at a checkpoint for permission go back to their homes Saturday, April 20, 2013, three days after an explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Town resident Debbie Keel holds her six-month-old granddaughter Kennedy along the road as they wait to gain clearance from police officers (background) to return to their home, after a fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, on April 20, 2013. (Reuters/Adrees Latif) #
Investigators stand amid the aftermath of a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (Reuters/Adrees Latif) #
A giant hole in the ceiling of the West High School gymnasium shows where an explosion at the West Fertilizer Company a day earlier launched debris through the roof, on April 18, 2013. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
A smashed car sits in front of an apartment complex destroyed by the explosion in West, Texas, as firefighters conduct a search and rescue on Thursday, April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
Emergency workers patrol the smoldering scene in West, Texas, on April 20, 2013. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Pastor John Crowder talks to his congregation during a service for the First Baptist Church held in a field, on Sunday, April 21, 2013, four days after the explosion, in West, Texas. The church could not meet in their building because it was inside a damage zone. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Churchgoers huddle to pray after a service for the First Baptist Church in a field, on Sunday, April 21, 2013, in West, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #
Hewitt, Texas police officer Mike Zahirniak (right) comforts his son, Coy Zahirniak, 9, outside the West Community Center the day after the explosion, on April 18, 2013. Coy alerted his family to the fire across the street from his grandfather Willie Zahirniak's home and the plant exploded as they evacuated. The home was destroyed and Coy has been credited for saving his family from harm. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) #
A firefighter stands on a rail line and surveys the remains of the destroyed fertilizer plant, on April 18, 2013. (AP Photo/LM Otero) #
Brandon Smith removes broken glass from the West Thrift Shop after the explosion, in West, Texas, on April 18, 2013. (Reuters/Mike Stone) #
A high school student gets a hug from a teacher from West, Texas, as students arrive for classes at a temporary facility provided by the Connally Independent School District, on April 22, 2013, in Waco, Texas. West students returned back to class today after the massive explosion five days ago. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) #

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