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Explosions destroy Mississippi biodiesel plant

January 24, 2014
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A biodiesel plant in northern Mississippi was destroyed on Jan. 22 after two explosions and a subsequent blaze razed it to the ground.

The two workers on the premises managed to escape the scene without suffering any harm, Reuters reported citing plant manager Carl Harlin.

The JNS Biodiesel LCC plant was located about four miles north of New Albany. The first explosion shook the facility in the early hours of Wednesday, Jan. 22., around 5:30 a.m. CST, according to local authorities. It triggered a blaze so intense that the heat prevented firefighters from getting close enough to put out the fire. As Harlin told Reuters, state and federal environmental officials thought it would be best to let the fire burn out, which was expected to take as long as two days. A second explosion occurred in the afternoon as a result of a storage tank blowing up and any hopes of saving some of the complex were completely dashed, Harlin said. However, he added that a new plant would be built on the site and a crew had already been hired for the clean-up.

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The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
said that the incident had caused a blackout in the nearby town of Blue Mountain and parts of the neighboring Tippah County. As a precautionary measure, the agency evacuated one home and two industrial businesses located close to the plant. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality dispatched air monitoring teams to check for the potential release of hazardous materials but no such materials had been detected at the time of publication, Reuters said.

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