The cable news networks broke into their ongoing coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing Wednesday night to cover the massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas.
CNN, MSNBC and Fox News Channel all contributed most of their evening airtime to the explosion at the facility in the small town of West, which is 18 miles north of Waco (When any of the networks did briefly interrupt coverage from Texas, it was to give updates on Monday’s bombing in Boston as well as on the arrest in the case of the ricin-poisoned letters sent to President Barack Obama and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Mass.).
ABC, CBS and NBC stuck with their regularly scheduled programming. In Los Angeles, Fox affiliate KTTV included news of the explosion at the top of its 10 p.m. broadcast.
CNN reported that the number of deaths resulting from Wednesday’s explosion could rise as high as 60 to 70, while another 100-plus are injured. The blast could be heard up to 45 miles away.
“It was a like a nuclear bomb went off,” Mayor Tommy Muska told CNN. “Big old mushroom cloud. There are a lot of people that got hurt. There are a lot of people that will not be here tomorrow.”
At least 50 homes were damaged in the blast while 10 to 15 buildings were “totally demolished,” community emergency medical services director George Smith told CNN. He added that some people might be trapped in buildings.
“I expect there’s going to be many fatalities and many more injured people,” he said.