With smoke rising in the distance, a law enforcement officer runs a check point at the perimeter about half a mile from the West Fertilizer Company April 18, 2013 in West, Texas. A massive explosion at the fertilizer company injured more than 100 people and left damaged buildings for blocks in every direction. The death toll from the blast, which occurred as firefighters were tackling a blaze, is as yet unknown. (Getty Images)
WEST, Texas (TheBlaze/AP) -- Police in Texas say it's not clear how many people remain trapped in the rubble after a fertilizer plant explosion that killed as many as 15 people and injured more than 160 others.
Waco Police Sgt. William Patrick Swanton says early Thursday he doesn't know how many people have been rescued since the Wednesday night explosion in downtown West.
But he says officials on the ground remain in "search and rescue mode," going building to building in the largely decimated neighborhood surrounding the plant.
He says he knows some firefighters still are missing.
Swanton says a thunderstorm that rolled through the area early Thursday has helped in some ways, including tamping down chemicals released from the plant.
He also says a "small amount of looting" has taken place in the destroyed neighborhood.
In a statement Thursday morning, President Barack Obama said a "tight-knit community has been shaken" and said federal support was in place to ensure there are "no unmet needs."
"Today our prayers go out to the people of West, Texas in the aftermath of last night’s deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant," Obama said. "A tight-knit community has been shaken, and good, hard-working people have lost their lives. I want to thank the first responders who worked tirelessly through the night to contain the situation and treat the wounded. My Administration, through FEMA and other agencies, is in close contact with our state and local partners on the ground to make sure there are no unmet needs as search and rescue and response operations continue. West is a town that many Texans hold near and dear to their hearts, and as residents continue to respond to this tragedy, they will have the support of the American people."