Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Kills 35, Injures 160

Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion Kills 35 Injures 160Some 35 people — including 10 first responders — died in a massive explosion Wednesday night at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, Mayor Tommy Muska said, according to USA Today. More than 160 people were injured.

‘Very volatile’

The area around the site of the massive explosion at a fertilizer plant that flattened much of the small Texas town remains “very volatile” due to the presence of ammonium nitrate, McLennan County Chief Deputy Sheriff Matt Cawthon said Thursday. Authorities searched through mounds of rubble in hopes of finding survivors of the blast that left shattered homes and wreckage in a wide swath of the town, which has only 2,800 people.

On Wednesday evening, a fire at the plant suddenly exploded with a huge, deafening bang, throwing people to the ground blocks away. About half the town was evacuated, including the nursing home with 133 residents. The explosion tore through the roof of West Fertilizer Co., charring much of the structure and sending massive flames into the air, followed by a plume of smoke bigger than the plant itself. A deafening boom echoed for miles. The blast stripped the apartment complex, with 50 units, of its walls and windows. Between 50 and 60 homes in a five-block area sustained damage, officials said.

‘No chemical escape’

As of Thursday afternoon, authorities had not determined what led to the deadly explosion. Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said earlier there were no indications of criminal activity but that wasn’t being ruled out yet.

With help from heavy rains early Thursday, firefighters managed to quell most of the flames in the area, authorities said. The rain and heavy winds also helped dissipate chemicals that may have been released. Swanton emphasized that there was no cause for alarm about the air. There was no “chemical escape” that is “out of control,” he said.

What do you think caused this massive explosion? Was it an accident or could it have been intentional?

Source: Josh Levs and Lateef Mungin, CNN

Image: The Australian

NCAA Tournament Bracket: President Obama Picks Indiana As Winner

NCAA Tournament Bracket President Obama Picks Indiana As WinnerAs has become tradition, President Obama selected his bracket in front of ESPN’s cameras, accompanied by college basketball analyst Andy Katz.

‘Ohio State defeating Wisconsin’

In the Midwest region, the Louisville pick makes sense. However, President Obama has them beating Duke in the Elite Eight. For the most part, the President sticks with chalk in the Midwest. His only notable “upset” is Cincinnati defeating Creighton in the round of 64.

In the West, President Obama has Ohio State defeating Wisconsin to advance to the Final Four. The President isn’t so quick to dismiss Gonzaga, advancing them to the Sweet 16. But he is quick to dismiss Kansas State, already predicting the winner of the Boise State versus La Salle play-in game will beat the Wildcats in the round of 64. He also likes Belmont over Arizona, a popular upset pick and one I’m also projecting.

‘Indiana winning the national title’

In the South, the President is projecting Florida to beat Michigan to advance to the Final Four. President Obama has two upset picks in the round of 64 on the bottom portion of the bracket, rolling with Minnesota over UCLA—I’m with you, Mr. President—and Oklahoma over San Diego State.

Finally, we go to the East region, where the President has Indiana defeating Miami to reach the Final Four. It’s hard to argue with either selection.  However, you could make the argument that Miami deserved to be a No. 1 seed. In fact, the Hurricanes are the first ACC team ever to win the regular-season title and conference tournament and not earn a No. 1 seed.

In the Final Four, President Obama sees Indiana defeating Florida, Louisville defeating Ohio State and Indiana winning the national title.

Do you think President Obama’s prediction of the NCAA tournament will come true? Which team are you rooting for?

Source: Timothy Rapp, Bleacher Report

Image: Gamedayr