UK & World News

  • 3 December 2012, 17:48

Louisiana: Explosives Find Sparks Evacuation

A whole town in northwest Louisiana has been been evacuated after more than 2,500 tons of explosive material was discovered being stored illegally.

State police have launched a criminal investigation into how the boxes and small barrels of M6 artillery propellant came to be stacked outdoors and crammed into unauthorised buildings leased by Explo Systems at Camp Minden, a former military ammunition plant.

"That's a lot of product, a lot of dangers in there. There are a lot of worst case scenarios. We need to work through those safely," said Louisiana State Police Colonel Michael Edmondson.

Officers had originally estimated there were around 450 tons (1,000,000lb) of the explosive material, which is used in howitzers and other artillery. But it turned out that there was just under 2,700. (6,000,000lb).

The weekend operation to move and secure the black powder into authorised storage facilities on the site is now expected to last until Tuesday.

About half of the 800 residents of Doyline left their homes on Friday. The authorities have now issued an order to evacuate the rest.

Police began investigating the company after an explosion at the site on October 15.

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