According to the U.S. Geological Survey, Wednesday's explosion at the fertilizer plant in West registered as a 2.1-magnitude explosion.
The magnitude is "substantially less than the true size of the event" because the magnitude only measures the ground motion, not the air wave, the USGS said on its website.
Mayor Tommy Muska said he felt the explosion before he heard it and that it was so powerful that it blew his hat off his head and the mirror off his vehicle.
"I felt it before I heard it," he said.
A resident who lives two blocks away from the plant told NBC 5's Ray Villeda that the impact felt like a plane had gone down near her.
West is about 70 miles south of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, but people as far north as south Arlington reported feeling the explosion. Numerous NBC 5 viewers in places such as Cleburne, Waxahachie and Midlothian contacted NBC 5, saying they believed they felt an earthquake.
Muska said he did not know how many homes were affected by the blast's five-block radius. His own home's windows and doors were blown off, he said.
Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Trooper D.L. Wilson said 50 to 75 homes were damaged, in addition to 50 units at an apartment complex that were just "a skeleton." Chopper 5 could see that the entire second floor of a two-story apartment building had collapsed.
Swanton described the damage as "quite a bit of devastation" in the downtown area.
NBC 5's Ray Villeda contributed to this report.