Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the devastating explosion "truly a nightmare scenario" for the small farming community. He declared a state of emergency for the county and dispatched National Guard troops for assistance.
The governor also said that President Obama called him from Air Force One en route to Boston to offer federal assistance.
West Mayor Tommy Muska told reporters that his town of 2,800 people needs "your prayers."
Officials said it did not appear that the town was threatened by chemical fumes from the plant, which was still smoldering hours after the explosion.