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LSP: Explosives improperly stored at Camp Minden

November 28, 2012 • Business


In this photo released Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012 by the Louisiana State Police shows piles of explosive powder stored at the Camp Minden industrial site that officials say were improperly housed by a company. State police and Webster Parish sheriff’s deputies were working to secure hundreds of thousands of pounds of the explosive powder, Tuesday at the facility. “I have been told that we’re looking at possibly a million-plus pounds and above,” [auth] said Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton. He said containers of explosives were sitting outside in piles and in roofless buildings, exposed to the weather, at the northwest Louisiana site. Col. Mike Edmonson, head of the Louisiana State Police, said his investigators found the improperly stored explosives during an inspection of property leased by Explo Systems Inc., where an above-ground magazine storage facility exploded last month. (AP Photo/Louisiana State Police)

MINDEN, La. (AP) — State police and Webster Parish sheriff’s deputies were working Tuesday to secure hundreds of thousands of pounds of explosives at the Camp Minden industrial site that officials say were improperly housed by a company.

“We have a minimum of a million pounds. We believe it’s more, but it’s so difficult to count because it’s spread out everywhere,” said Col. Mike Edmonson, head of the Louisiana State Police.

Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said containers of explosives were sitting outside in piles and in roofless buildings, exposed to the weather, at the northwest Louisiana site, which is near a local high school, the parish prison and the 800-resident town of Doyline.

Edmonson said local and state officials intend to move the explosives within the next few days, after determining the safest method and the needed evacuations. He said the explosives were in a stable environment and weren’t an immediate threat to safety.

“The public will get 24-hours’ notice before the product is moved,” he said.

State police investigators found the explosives during an inspection of 110 acres of property leased by Explo Systems Inc., where an above-ground magazine storage facility exploded last month.

“Because of what’s happened in the past, we have to be concerned,” Sexton said.

Explo Systems officials didn’t answer phone calls Tuesday for comment. The company’s website lists it as a seven-year-old business that recovers and recycles explosives.

The inspection of the Explo Systems site, Edmonson said, stemmed from an October explosion there that shook buildings and shattered windows in nearby communities.

Camp Minden is the site of a former Army ammunition plant. Louisiana took the site over from the federal government in 2005. Now, it is a Louisiana National Guard training site and an industrial complex.

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