By Amanda Cullen

A number of people have been killed, while hundreds more have been injured after an explosion at a fertiliser plant near Waco, Texas.

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Authorities said that the death toll was expected to rise as search teams combed through the rubble of the demolished plant and surrounding homes.

 

A nearby football pitch has been set up as a make shift hospital for the victims.

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Numerous buildings including a nursing home and a school are said to have been damaged or destroyed in the blast.

 

Mayor Tommy Muska said in an interview on CNN that 60 to 80 homes around the plant were flattened.

 

It is understood that children may be among those still trapped.

The mayor says there was a fire at the West Fertiziler plant before the blast.

 

It could be heard at least 45 miles away and there are concerns over toxic fumes in the air.

Smoke rises as water is sprayed at the burning remains of a fertilizer plant after an explosion at the plant in the town of West, near Waco, Texas

 

The blast, apparently preceded by a fire at the plane, as we can see on the video, was reported about 8pm local time last night (2am Irish time) in a town of around 2,700 people about 120km south of Dallas and 32km north of Waco.

 

US Representative Bill Flores said he doughted any foul play was involved.

 

One spectator caught the explosion live on camera.