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Other witnesses compared the scene to something from (Credit: WFAA)

Other witnesses compared the scene to something from the Iraq War or the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, according to the Associated Press.

PHOTOS: Deadly TX plant explosion

The explosion in downtown West, a small farming community about 20 miles north of Waco, shook the ground with the strength of a small earthquake and could be heard dozens of miles away. It sent flames shooting into the night sky and rained burning embers and debris down on shocked and frightened residents.

The explosion sent flames shooting into the night
(Credit: WFAA)

The explosion sent flames shooting into the night sky and rained burning embers, shrapnel and debris down on shocked and frightened residents, according to the Associated Press.

The blast left the factory a smoldering ruin
(Credit: WFAA)

The blast left the factory a smoldering ruin and leveled homes and businesses for blocks in every direction, according to the Associated Press.

Other witnesses compared the scene to something from
(Credit: WFAA)

Other witnesses compared the scene to something from the Iraq War or the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, according to the Associated Press.

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A spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry said
(Credit: KTVT)

A spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry said the state sent personnel from several agencies to help, including the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, the state's emergency management department and an incident management team, according to the Associated Press.

The explosion that struck around 8 p.m. leveled
(Credit: KTVT)

The explosion that struck around 8 p.m. leveled a four-block area around the plant that a member of the city council, Al Vanek, said was "totally decimated."

The explosion in downtown West, about 20 miles
(Credit: KTVT)

The explosion in downtown West, about 20 miles north of Waco, shook the ground with the strength of a small earthquake and could be heard dozens of miles away, according to the Associated Press.

The toll included 50 to 75 houses, an
(Credit: WFAA)

The toll included 50 to 75 houses, an apartment complex with about 50 units that one state police officer said was reduced to "a skeleton," a middle school and the West Rest Haven Nursing Home, from which first-responders evacuated 133 patients, some in wheelchairs.

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said it was
(Credit: WFAA)

The U.S. Chemical Safety Board said it was deploying a large investigation team to West, according to the Associated Press.

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Dozens of emergency vehicles amassed at the scene
(Credit: KTVT)

Dozens of emergency vehicles amassed at the scene in the hours after the blast, as fires continued to smolder in the ruins of the plant and in several surrounding buildings.

The explosion in downtown West, about 20 miles
(Credit: Kasey Murphy/Facebook)

The explosion in downtown West, about 20 miles north of Waco, shook the ground with the strength of a small earthquake and could be heard dozens of miles away, according to the Associated Press.

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Blown out plate
(Credit: Getty Chip Somodevilla)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Blown out plate glass windows lay shattered on the sidewalk and street after the West Fertilizer Company exploded April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the fertilizer company injured more than 100 people and left damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The death toll from the blast, which occured as firefighters were tackling a blaze, is as yet unknown. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Earth moving equipment
(Credit: Getty Chip Somodevilla)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Earth moving equipment rolls through the downtown area in the middle of the night after the West Fertilizer Company exploded April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the fertilizer company injured more than 100 people and left damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The death toll from the blast, which occured as firefighters were tackling a blaze, is as yet unknown. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Shattered galss covers
(Credit: Getty Chip Somodevilla)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Shattered galss covers items in the front of a thrift show after the West Fertilizer Company exploded April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the fertilizer company injured more than 100 people and left damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The death toll from the blast, which occured as firefighters were tackling a blaze, is as yet unknown. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Blown out plate
(Credit: Getty Chip Somodevilla)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Blown out plate glass windows lay shattered on the sidewalk and street after the West Fertilizer Company exploded on April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the fertilizer company injured more than 100 people and left damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The death toll from the blast, which occured as firefighters were tackling a blaze, is as yet unknown. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Blown out plate
(Credit: Getty Chip Somodevilla)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: Blown out plate glass windows lay shattered on the sidewalk and street after the West Fertilizer Company exploded April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the fertilizer company injured more than 100 people and left damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The death toll from the blast, which occured as firefighters were tackling a blaze, is as yet unknown. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: With smoke rising
(Credit: Getty Chip Somodevilla)

WEST, TX - APRIL 18: With smoke rising in the distance, a law enformcement officer runs a check point at the perimeter about half a mile from the West Fertilizer Company April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the fertilizer company injured more than 100 people and left damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The death toll from the blast, which occured as firefighters were tackling a blaze, is as yet unknown. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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