Gas tanks damaged by a massive explosion at a Texas fertilizer plant are leaking and have triggered small fires that are keeping displaced residents from returning home, reports the Associated Press.
The initial blast at the West Fertilizer Co. on Wednesday killed 14 people, injured more than 200 others and damaged or completely destroyed at least 80 homes. The new fires at the site are small, have been contained and have not caused any further injuries, said Bryce
Reed, a paramedic and spokesman for the town of West.
The news was another setback for evacuated residents who have waited anxiously to return and assess what remains after the blast. Many are hoping to find key documents such as insurance papers and family records to help with recovery. Others simply hope to reclaim any belongings that might be buried under splintered homes.
Reed said there are dozens of portable, white tanks at the site that are typically filled with anhydrous ammonia from larger storage tanks for when farmers request them. The tanks get weak when they are exposed to fire, he said, and bleed.
"The whole place is still on fire, smoldering, all that kind of stuff. It could spark up," Reed told a hotel lobby crammed with residents waiting to get beyond police blockades to their homes. But, he said, "there isn't really enough structure left to light up and burn."
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