Almost 20 years after a fire killed 25 children in David Koresh’s Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas, a fertilizer plant exploded near Waco, killing up to 15 people and injuring over 160. The plant, in operation since the 1950’s, supplied fertilizer to farms.
A resident sitting in his pickup truck near the plant captured the fire and the horrific explosion on his cell phone. The man’s daughter, who was also in the truck, can be heard screaming in terror.
The explosion occurred as firefighters battled a roaring fire at the plant for over 30 minutes. The blast leveled nearby homes and a school in West, TX, a small farming community with a population of 2,500. Elderly residents of a nearby retirement home were evacuated safely. The shock waves measured 2.1 on the Richter scale, a machine that measures the magnitude of earthquakes.
The blast could be felt 45 miles away. Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton says firefighters are still unaccounted for. Emergency responders set up triage areas on a football field to treat the injured.
On April 19, 1993, after a 51-day standoff, the ATF and FBI lobbed tear gas canisters into David Koresh’s Branch Davidian compound. The resulting fire consumed the buildings, killing 76, including Koresh, 33. The fire is still referred to as the “Waco massacre.”
On April 19, 1995, Timothy McVeigh, seeking to avenge the Waco massacre, parked a truck packed with fertilizer in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The explosion killed 168 people, including 19 children. The Oklahoma City bombing remained the deadliest terrorist act on American soil until September 11, 2001.