WEST, Texas —
"Tomorrow is going to be a very sad day," Vanek said.
Glenn A. Robinson, the chief executive of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, said in an interview on CNN that his hospital had received 66 injured people for treatment, including 38 who were seriously hurt. He said the injuries included blast injuries, orthopedic injuries, large wounds and a lot of lacerations and cuts. The hospital has set up a hotline for families of the victims to get information, he said.
Robinson did not immediately return messages from The Associated Press.
Messages to Scott Clark, spokesman for Scott and White Hospital in Temple and Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center in Waco, were not returned Wednesday. A spokesman at Providence Health Center was not available for comment, a hospital operator said.
Debby Marak told the AP that when she finished teaching her religion class Wednesday night, she noticed a lot of smoke in the area across town near the plant. She said she drove over to see what was happening, and that when she got there, two boys came running toward her screaming that the authorities ordered everyone out because the plant was going to explode.
She said she had driven only about a block when the blast happened.
"It was like being in a tornado," Marak, 58, said by phone. "Stuff was flying everywhere. It blew out my windshield."
"It was like the whole earth shook."
She called her husband and asked him to come get her. When they got to their home about 2 miles south of town, her husband told her what he'd seen: a huge fireball that rose like "a mushroom cloud."
Lucy Nashed, a spokesman for Perry's office, said personnel from several agencies were en route to West or already there, including the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, the state's emergency management department and an incident management team. Also responding is the state's top urban search and rescue team, the state health department and mobile medical units.