A fire and explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, TX, about 80 miles south of Dallas, is keeping CNN live on the air into the Midnight hour. The news broke around 10:30pm as cable news anchors were focused on the investigation into the Boston Marathon blasts. CNN’s Anderson Cooper covered the news during the 10pm hour, and remained with the story through the 11pm with Erin Burnett, then Piers Morgan live at Midnight. Fox News and MSNBC aired cut-ins but remained with taped programming, as of this writing. Update: MSNBC went into rolling coverage around 12:15am with Mara Schiavocampo and, later, Richard Lui anchoring until 5am. Fox News’ Elizabeth Prann anchored overnight coverage beginning at 12:38 until “Fox & Friends First” began at 4:30am. ABC’s “Nightline” was live for the East Coast, and then did a live update for the West Coast (3:35 am ET) with Terry Moran anchoring from Boston and Steve Osunsami reporting from Texas.
As the fire raged, a driver pulled out his camera phone and began recording. He wasn’t expecting what happened next. After the explosion shakes his vehicle, you hear screams and then his daughter: “Dad, I can’t hear. I can’t hear. Please get out of here.” Watch here.
An eyewitness told DallasNews.com “It was a small fire and then water sprayed the ammonia nitrate, and it exploded just like the Oklahoma City bomb.” The 18th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing is tomorrow. In fact, this part of Texas was in the news 20 years ago this week, when the final siege on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco began, resulting in the deaths of 76 people. West, TX is about 20 miles north of Waco.