BELLE, W. Va. (KDKA / AP) – An on-site protection order was lifted for hundreds of people following an explosion and fire at the former Dupont chemical plant in Belle, West Virginia.
Belle, West Virginia, is about 10 miles south of Charleston, and the on-site protection order was two miles from the facility.
It happened after 10 p.m. Tuesday at the Chemours facility in the Kanawha County township of Belle, the county commission said in a statement. The injured included two workers and a person who was hit by rubble, Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper told WCHS-TV.
Officials believe the explosion involved chlorinated dry bleach and methanol, Carper said.
“We had at least one very serious explosion and a working fire in the facility,” Carper told the news channel.
People who lived in the area reported that their homes were shaking. Emergency officials announced they would seek refuge 2 miles around the plant and a nearby road was closed before firefighters could put out the flames and allow people to move.
Belle Mayor David Fletcher, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said the fire was put out before midnight. “At the moment we feel that everything is in pretty good shape,” he told the TV station.
Still, it was a very tough day, Kanawha County’s manager Jennifer Herrald told The Associated Press.
“We lost a police officer and they laid her to rest, our community was already injured because of this incident and to end the day with an explosion at a chemical plant when our first responders were already grieving and exhausted from a funeral – it was one difficult situation to get through this evening, ”she said.
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