Texas Mayor Says 35 to 40 People Unaccounted for After Plant Blast

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Marak told ABC News that the explosion killed her pet dog and destroyed her house about 2 1/2 blocks from the plant, as well as houses around it.

"With the explosions, the whole street lifted up," she told ABC News. "It was like a massive bomb went off. It demolished both my houses, my mother's and mine."

"I think everything around us is pretty much just gone," she added, according to ABC News Radio.

Keith Williams, a local resident, said his house also was destroyed.

"All the ceilings are out," Williams said, according to ABC News Radio. "The windows are out. The brick's knocked off the house. My big garage out back is half blowed in."

He also saw "people with all their houses tore up across the street from me, on each side of me."

The fertilizer plant exploded around 7:50 p.m. local time Wednesday, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Emergency response audio told the story of the chaos among firefighters and others at the scene.

"We need every ambulance we can get this way," one snippet said. "A bomb just went off. It's pretty bad."

"Firefighters down," another said. "There has been an explosion."

"The rest home has been seriously damaged. We have many people down. Please respond."

There were subsequent explosions around 10 p.m., ABC News affiliate WFAA reported. The cause of the explosions was unconfirmed, but a dispatcher was heard warning crews to move away from chemicals in unexploded tanks.

The fertilizer plant was fined $2,300 by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2006 for failing to have a risk management plan that met federal standards, the EPA told ABCNews.com in an email.

The plant was not penalized by the EPA again after that incident and has not had any major accidents in the last five years.

Another EPA report showed that West Fertilizer Co. reported the "worst possible scenario ... would be a 10-minute release of ammonia gas that would kill or injure no one," according to the Dallas Morning News.

ABC News' Leezel Tanglao, Clayton Sandell, Elizabeth Stuart and Gina Sunseri contributed to this report.

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