Apr 19, 2013 6:01 PM by NBC News
(NBC News) Sixty people are still unaccounted for after a fertilizer plant exploded earlier in the week, flattening part of a small Texas town and killing 14 people, officials said.
"With a heavy heart I can confirm 12 people have been recovered, deceased," Sgt. Jason Reyes said at a brief press conference Friday morning. Later in the day, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said that 60 people are missing.
The explosion occurred just before 8 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET) on Wednesday in West, Texas, which is north of Waco. The scene was described by witnesses as looking like a bombing site in a war zone.
A huge blast rocked a small Texas town causing an unknown number of deaths and destroying nearby homes.
Approximately 200 people were injured and three rescue fire trucks were destroyed, Reyes said. Volunteer firefighters are believed to be among the dead.
Reyes said at least 50 homes had been damaged when the plant, which sits adjacent to a residential area, exploded.
He said no residents were being allowed back in the area, and thanked the search and rescue crews for their "professionalism and heroism as they try to bring closure."
It's not known what caused the massive blast. The operation was still considered a search-and-rescue effort on Friday.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry was expected to visit the small town of West later in the day.
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