PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

News

December 3, 2012

La. town evacuates; police relocate explosives

— Weather could complicate the transfer of roughly 6 million pounds of explosives that were haphazardly stored at an industrial site in northwestern Louisiana and led to the evacuation of a small town, a state police spokeswoman said Monday.

If lightning is spotted within five miles of the site, authorities will suspend efforts that began on Saturday to move the artillery propellant, Lt. Julie Lewis said.

Light rain fell at midday in the vicinity of the site near the town of Doyline. No lightning was expected Monday, but thunderstorms were forecast for Tuesday.

Officials estimate that more than half of Doyline’s 800 residents heeded police advice to evacuate in advance of the cleanup at the Explo Systems Inc. site. Col. Mike Edmondson, commander of Louisiana State Police, said the material is stable and would need an ignition source to explode. The precautions were taken because officials fear that any spark could set off a huge explosion of the material, which they said was stored improperly in a relatively small area.

One of several residents who relocated to a nearby state park expressed exasperation at the sheer volume of explosive material, which is more than authorities initially estimated.

“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. “Maybe we ought to be up in Arkansas somewhere.”

Edmondson was hesitant to estimate when it would be safe for Doyline residents to return home. He also said state police weren’t sure how much damage an explosion of the material could cause, even after consulting with Department of Defense officials.

“Nobody can tell you what 6 million pounds of explosives would do if it went up,” Edmondson said in a telephone interview. “And I don’t want to find out.”

Edmonson said that Explo Systems leases and controls about 400 acres of the 15,000-acre Camp Minden, a former ammunition plant that now is a state-owned industrial site and home to a National Guard training facility. He estimated that the M6 propellant was stored in an area of less than 10 acres.

It was discovered there, stored indoors and outdoors, sometimes in containers that had spilled open, by a trooper following up on an October explosion at the facility.

Explo is now the subject of a criminal investigation, state police said.

The company has not publicly commented on the investigation. Its website says the company has been in existence for seven years and that its management has been “demilitarizing” and recovering explosives and propellant for 15 years.

Authorities had initially estimated the total of M6 stored at the site at 1 million pounds after the first investigator saw cardboard boxes on long rows of pallets behind a building. Police found more stacked in sheds and warehouses when crews returned Saturday to begin moving the boxes into bunkers about two miles away on the former munitions site, state police spokesman Capt. Doug Cain said Sunday.

“It wasn’t in their storage magazines. They had it hidden on the property, away from the storage magazines where we would expect to find it,” Cain said.

Edmonson said “it was stuffed in corners. It was stacked all over.”

He said that in two days, crews had moved nearly a million pounds from the tightest-packed buildings into approved containers and onto 27 tractor-trailers to move to storage bunkers. Another 250,000 pounds had been moved a safe distance from the bulk of the material. It won’t all have to be moved into bunkers to let people return home — the evacuation could be lifted once the propellant is divided into amounts that won’t threaten the town if some ignites, with each area a safe distance from the others, Edmonson said.

Company officials could not be reached Sunday. The owners were believed to be returning Monday from a business trip to South Korea, but a manager has been working with state police from the start, Edmonson said.

A call to a Shreveport attorney who represents the company was not returned Monday.

Doyline was used to film some scenes for the HBO vampire series “True Blood.”

1
Text Only
News
  • screenshot facebook.jpg Facebook vies with Google to Apple for mobile developers

    Facebook is pushing to change a perception that it's not a tool for developers this week at the F8 developer conference in San Francisco, the company's first major event for app makers since 2011.

    April 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jamaal Charles' Football Camp

    April 15, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 11, 2014

  • Boston doctors can now prescribe you a bike

    The City of Boston this week is rolling out a new program that's whimsically known as "Prescribe-a-Bike." Part medicine, part welfare, the initiative allows doctors at Boston Medical Center to write "prescriptions" for low-income patients to get yearlong memberships to Hubway, the city's bike-share system, for only $5.

    April 11, 2014

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 2.16.35 PM.png Are Americans smart to stop drinking diet sodas?

    Recent data from Beverage Digest suggest many are cutting back on diet sodas. Consumption of diet sodas fell more than that of sugary sodas in 2013. This raises two questions: Why is total consumption declining, and is drinking diet soda harmful to health?

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.43.57 AM.png VIDEO: Amazing dance moves at NCAA title game

    Eye-catching action wasn't confined to the court at AT&T Stadium Monday night during the NCAA Championship game between UConn and Kentucky. This pair -- apparently a father and son -- delighted the crowd during a timeout with some synchronized dance moves.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: White House may ban selfies

    The White House wasn't too pleased after Red Sox player David Ortiz snapped a selfie with President Obama that was later used promotionally by Samsung.

    April 9, 2014

  • Investing more money in tornado research would be a disaster

    This week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would require National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration funding to focus on improving forecasts of "high impact weather events" like tornadoes and hurricanes "for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy."

    April 7, 2014

Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Facebook
Sports Tweets
Photos