Live Updates From ABC’s blog via Bad Blue Director:
1:31 p.m. ET: The National Response Team of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, along with ATF special agents from the Houston Field Division, has been activated to join the investigation of the West Fertilizer Plant fire.
This has been a week of loss and tragedy for the nation, Acting Special Agent in Charge of ATF Houston Field Division Crisanto Perez said today. ATF is committed to working alongside state and local law enforcement by bringing its expertise to determine the origin and cause of this horrific incident. ATF will provide whatever resources necessary to thoroughly investigate and provide answers.
1:00 p.m. ET: Speaking at a press conference, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told reporters that the air, as well as the pipelines in the area, are being constantly monitored, and that gas distribution to homes has been disconnected. Gas connections will be double and triple checked before service is restored, Perry said.
Last night was truly a nightmare scenario for that community, Perry said. West is a really small community. And just a few thousand people. Anyone who grew up in a small town like West, they know that this tragedy has most likely hit every family, and has touched practically everyone in that town. I ask all Texans and Americans to join me and [his wife] Anita in keeping them in our prayers.
11:40 a.m. ET: Speaking to reporters, Waco police spokesman Sgt. William Patrick Swanton said that more than 160 people have been injured, possibly more.
Id imagine thats increased at this point, he said.
Swanton also clarified that earlier reports of looting in the area were overestimated, and that there was only one instance of a looter.
I have confirmed at least there was an incident last night when they thought they may have had a looter, he said. It was an isolated incident.
Destruction in the area had varied, Swanton said.
It ranges from broken windows to complete devastation. There are homes that are no longer homes walls were ripped off, roofs were peeled back.
Swanton told reporters that the cool weather in the area has been helpful, but officials want to rescue survivors before rain increases.
As the hours go by with the temp getting cooler, with rain here, we certainly want to find folks, if theyre in the environment, injured. Numerous search teams are searching as rapidly as they can to save these people, he said.