Residents in West, Texas beginning to realize devastating toll of fertilizer plant explosion

WEST, Texas (AP) - The neighborhood surrounding a Texas fertilizer plant that erupted in a thunderous explosion is gone, and the residents here know they've lost more than the buildings that went up in flames.

Even as investigators were tight-lipped about the number of dead from the blast -- authorities say more than 160 are injured but have not yet released a firm death toll -- the names of the dead are becoming known in the town of 2,800, even if they haven't been officially released.

Initial reports put the fatalities from Wednesday's blast as high as 15, but later Thursday, authorities backed off any estimate.

Residents head toward the weekend hoping they'll be allowed back into their homes near the site where Thursday search and rescue teams continued to pick through the rubble.

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