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Explosives plant cleanup disrupts Louisiana town

December 4, 2012 • National News


Law enforcement personnel stand at a roadblock along Hwy 163 just south of Doyline, La., Saturday Dec. 1, 2012. Authorities have begun moving 1 million pounds of improperly stored explosive powder to storage bunkers at the Camp Minden industrial site. State investigators found the explosives while inspecting property leased by Explo Systems, where an above-ground storage magazine exploded in October. (AP Photo/The Shreveport Times, Jim Hudelson) MAGS OUT; MANDATORY CREDIT SHREVEPORTTIMES.COM; NO SALES

DOYLINE, La. (AP) — The cleanup of 3,000 tons of explosives haphazardly stored at a munitions plant has frayed the nerves of residents who evacuated, closed the high school and spawned a criminal investigation of the company that owns the materials.

Authorities said about half the town’s 800 residents had heeded requests that they leave during the cleanup that started Saturday, but some appeared to be returning to their homes. Some displaced residents were exasperated by the sheer volume of explosive material, which is more than authorities initially estimated. Adding to the uncertainty was a forecast of thunderstorms Tuesday that could slow efforts to move the propellant used in artillery shells to safer storage sites.

“We got outside the evacuation area when they said there was a million pounds. Now it’s six million,” said Frank Peetz, 71, who was staying with his wife in a camper at a nearby state park. “Maybe we ought to be up in Arkansas somewhere.”

State police say some of the propellant was found spilling out of boxes crammed into buildings, and they have opened a criminal investigation into why the materials were not stored in bunkers at the state-owned site, leased by Explo Systems.

Weather could complicate the transfer of the Login to read more

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