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Searchers find 12 bodies from Texas blast as hunt continues

Search crews recovered the bodies of 12 people killed in a Texas fertilizer mill explosion that injured 200 and devastated the small town of West in the worst U.S. industrial disaster in at least three years.

About 25 homes near the site of the Wednesday blast at Adair Grain Inc.’s warehouse have yet to be searched, Sgt. Jason Reyes, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, said during a media briefing yesterday. The identities of the deceased weren’t released.

Sixty people remain unaccounted for, Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, said at a separate briefing yesterday. West Mayor Tommy Muska said Thursday there were 35 missing, including five volunteer firefighters, four emergency medical personnel, an off-duty Dallas firefighter and two local people who helped at the scene of the fire at Adair Grain that preceded the blast.

The facility had a stockpile of ammonium nitrate, a nitrogen fertilizer so volatile that it has been used by terrorists to build truck bombs. Cornyn said he’s “confident” the blast will lead to a review of the government’s chemical plant safety rules.

“We have to start all over, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” said Joann Williams, 70, who was evacuated from her house.

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