Explosions, massive fire rock New Albany bio-diesel plant - FOX 35 News Orlando

Explosions, massive fire rock New Albany bio-diesel plant

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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NEW ALBANY, Miss. (FOX13) -

UPDATE:  Several explosions and an intense fire rocked the JNS Biofuel Plant off Highway 15 North in New Albany and cameras were rolling when the second blast sent flames shooting into the air with a large plume of smoke.

The fire broke out about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Union County plant, about 90 minutes southeast of Memphis, Tenn., and 13 hours later the flames continue to burn bright.

There have been no reported injures.

Union County local firefighters have been playing the waiting game all day, watching and waiting to see when it would be safe to get closer to maybe help get the fire out. Well that all came to a screeching stop just after 1 p.m., when our cameras captured that loud explosion and resulting fireball.

It's now just too dangerous to get any closer.

It's the explosion those who live in this small community just north of New Albany say they'll be talking about for months, maybe even years.

"I've been doing this since 1998 and I've never seen anything like this," said Curt Clayton, Union County EMA Director.

At around 5:30 a.m. a couple of employees working inside the plant quickly got out safely and called 9-1-1. Soon after the first explosion happened and that's when firefighters knew it might be too dangerous for them to try and put it out.
 
"There's some chemicals down there that react against water and will actually blow up and make the fire bigger," Clayton said.

Crews on scene began waiting and hoping it would die down enough for them to try and get a cleaning crew closer, but  around 1 p.m. a second explosion and massive fireball shot into the air, at least 300-feet high and about three football fields in length.

"I hesitate to use the word impressive, but yes," said witness Alan Michael White, stopped by to see the fire for himself. He says he wasn't prepared for just what he and his neighbors say only happens in the movies, not here in their small community.

"This is a metaphor for us and our life existence," White said. "One day you are doing your best and if you're not careful it can end suddenly and horribly."

Now all anyone can do is watch and wait for the fire to burn itself out.

The Mississippi Army National Guard, local and state law enforcement are monitoring the air and using cameras to monitor the exploded bio-diesel plant.

ATF and the State Fire Marshall should arrive Thursday morning to hopefully get closer, begin assessing the property damage, and hopefully figure out a cause to this fire.

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(from earlier)

UPDATE:

MEMA and several state agencies are assisting Union County officials with the explosions and fire at the bio-diesel facility on Highway 15 just north of New Albany.

Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper First Class Ronny Hall says the fire was reported about 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. He says the fire is too hot for firefighters to approach so they are letting it burn out.

The fire has now spread across Highway 15 North.

According to a release from MEMA, one home and two industrial businesses near the plant have been evacuated as a precaution. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality has air monitoring teams in the area to test for hazardous materials that may leave the site, but have not detected anything at this time.

No injuries have been reported. Hall says there workers at the plant but he didn't know how many.

New Albany is a town of about 8,000 people in northeast Mississippi.

Hall says once the fire burns itself out, investigators will move in.

Agencies responding to the incident include Union County Emergency Management, MHP, MDOT, MDEQ, Union County Sheriff's Department, New Albany Police, Northeastern Fire Department, Myrtle Fire Department, New Albany Fire Department, and United States Environmental Services.

The cause of explosion is under investigation.

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(previous story)

A fire is burning at this hour at a bio-diesel plant in New Albany, Miss.

The Miss. Highway Patrol says the fire started about 5:30am with an explosion, and that the flames are so intense, firefighters have not been able to get close to the fire.

MORE: Miss. bio-diesel facts

Firefighters will wait for the flames to die down before going in to fight that fire. 

The plant is located about five miles north of Highway 78. 

At this point the Miss. Highway patrol is not aware of any injuries.

FOX13 is following this story and will continue to bring you the latest developments as they come in.

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The Associated Press contributed to this story

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