Texas Explosion Registered on Richter Scale

Casualties at a fertilizer-plant explosion are estimated to be between 5 and 15.
3:00 | 04/18/13

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Transcript for Texas Explosion Registered on Richter Scale
Devastating explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas. This stunning photo tells the terrifying story there you see it that kind of mushroom cloud created by a nuclear bomb. In fact here's what it looked like and sounded like as it happens and when. You can. He had the force of a small earthquake registered on the size McGrath and Amarillo Texas more than 400 miles away. And there are big concerns this morning about whether ammonia from the plan was released into the air how far -- could spread doctor best has been tracking that part of the story. So much to get to but first let's head straight to the scene west Texas. Just twenty miles north of wake -- and -- -- not the affects of the shockwave from ground zero through the entire town. ABC's Steve -- -- has been on the ground all night long Steve good morning. Good morning -- we are miles from the explosion -- -- you can still feel. The -- in the air we're just getting a cent of the casualties this morning emergency management officials tell us to of their volunteers were killed. And as many as five firefighters are still missing they say that until they determine that this is an accident they're going to be treating this as a crime. This fire raging for thirty minutes would have been devastating enough on its own. But then came this. -- -- -- Across town they heard the sound first the boom. -- -- telling us they could feel the explosion in their homes pulling out their cell phones to capture the video just before 8 o'clock. All portions of their town were wiped out. Massive dislike Barack. Just like -- Murray building in Oklahoma City same kind of Patterson exploded. So you can imagine what kind of damage we're looking at there. Firefighters have been fighting the flames since 630 when something that the west fertilizer plant ignited. And the explosion that followed sent a mushroom cloud high into the sky. Look like a nuclear bomb. It did this news -- I've heard Thursday evening Martin. -- -- -- Every critically at this life. Many of the 2800 people here were just finishing dinner the shock -- of the blast blew down their doors and shatter there windows I don't know -- my friend apparently. The blast so powerful it registered as an earthquake two point one on the scale. And was felt up to 45 miles away. It destroyed nearly a hundred homes and businesses in one small five block radius including a nearby school. And a nursing home where residents were being evacuated when the roof came crashing down. I needed the blows. -- let people and their wheelchairs. -- but all over their legs. Overnight more than a hundred shaken residents poured in to nearby hospitals and -- makeshift triage center a few miles from the blast. Emergency workers were going door to door in the dark. Hoping to find missing residents alive. There's a lot of people that -- And there's a lot of people that I'm sure are not going to be here tomorrow. When we arrived late last night the helicopters were busy moving the wounded from here to hospitals across the state. Authorities here have set up a hot line. At the local high school where. The families looking for their loved ones can hopefully come in contact.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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