In the wake of a massive explosion that rocked a small Texas town just north of Waco, rescuers are searching frantically for any would be survivors in the wreckage.

Around 8 p.m. on Wednesday night a sudden blast leveled the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas leaving around 15 people missing, authorities stated. The cause for explosion is still under investigation as the search continues.

Other than the obvious health concerns related to the explosion, authorities are racing to find anyone trapped in the area of the blast to cut down on anhydrous ammonia exposure.

Anhydrous Ammonia is a powerful gas sometimes used for agricultural fertilizer that in excess can produce suffocating fumes. The colorless gas is a combination of one part nitrogen and three parts hydrogen

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of anhydrous ammonia symptoms include:

  • Eye, nose, and throat irritation
  • Breathing difficulty, wheezing, or chest pain
  • Pulmonary edema, pink frothy sputum
  • Burns, blisters and frostbite.

High levels of exposure can lead to the possibility of death and when combined with bodily fluids serious dehydration can occur.

The University of Minnesota's extension for using anhydrous ammonia safely on the farm suggests that protective equipment including goggles, rubber gloves and a long-sleeve shirt be utilized when handling the chemical.

Managing Director of the Chemical Safety Board Daniel Horowitz said, "fertilizers have been involved in some of the most severe accidents of the past century."