Diesel tank explodes at New Albany, Mississippi bio-diesel plant - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Crews continue to fight fire hours after bio-diesel plant explosion

Posted: Updated:
The Mississippi Highway Patrol says the fire at the bio-diesel facility is still burning in New Albany and firefighters cannot get close enough to fight it. The Mississippi Highway Patrol says the fire at the bio-diesel facility is still burning in New Albany and firefighters cannot get close enough to fight it.
Highway 15 is closed as a result of the explosion. Highway 15 is closed as a result of the explosion.
Action News 5's Michael Clark was there as a third tank filled with diesel exploded. Action News 5's Michael Clark was there as a third tank filled with diesel exploded.
NEW ALBANY, MS -

(WMC-TV) - The Mississippi Highway Patrol says the fire at the bio-diesel facility is still burning in New Albany. Action News 5 cameras captured the second explosion that happened at the plant Wednesday afternoon.

Carl Harlin, the plant's manager, says the company converts chicken fat to alternative fuel. Despite the explosion being heard, seen, and felt for miles, nobody was injured.

"I walked outside. I noticed every tree in my yard was glowing orange and then it hit me, I said, 'There's something going on,'" said neighbor Randy Whiteborn. "It always worried me being so close, but you never think anything like this is going to happen."

The chemicals that posed a threat are in tanks that appear to be safe.

"None of that's burning, none of those tanks were compromised," said Harlin.

Bill Mattox lives a couple of miles from the facility.

"I heard it at 5:30. It woke me up and kind of shook the house. So it was a pretty big show this morning. A lot of people around town saw it and heard it," he said.

Two of Harlin's employees were at the facility at the time of the explosion.

"He just grabbed the newer guy and said, 'Come on, let's go.' And they ran," said Harlin.

Federal and state agencies are in Union County testing the air quality. So far, there are no reported problems.

The explosion knocked out power to customers in the town of Blue Mountain, which is a few miles from the facility.

First responders were unable to fight the fire for quite some time Wednesday for fear of additional diesel tank explosions. Afterward they said it is a difficult situation because it is hard to fight burning chemicals with just water.

"The best thing we can do at this time, I just let the fire burn itself out, because we don't know which chemicals has [sic] leaked out and which has not," said Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton.

The tanks with substances inside have all exploded and fire crews are waiting for everything to burn out. The explosions also led to grass fires.

The Red Cross provided help to first responders who were at the scene for about eight hours.

Also, the Red Cross provided aid after a gas line not too far from New Albany ruptured Wednesday evening.

First responders knocked on residents' doors on Old Highway 15, urging them to seek shelter at a Red Cross location at the Victory Life Center in New Albany on Denton Road.

It was not a mandatory evacuation, but as the temperature drops and the bio-diesel continues to burn the smoke will settle, which creates possible danger to people.

The New Albany school district canceled classes for Thursday due to the bio-diesel explosion.

Click here to see more photos from the scene of the explosion.

Copyright 2014 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Prostitution sting nets 31 arrests

    Prostitution sting nets 31 arrests

    Tuesday, April 20 2010 11:21 PM EDT2010-04-21 03:21:00 GMT
    31 people are in trouble with the law after a three day prostitution sting in Richmond. Police told NBC12 they targeted specific areas where residents and business owners complained about the illegal activity.More >>
  • Two injured Omega Protein plant workers speak out

    Two injured Omega Protein plant workers speak out

    Thursday, July 31 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-31 10:54:16 GMT
    Two of the men injured in the Omega Protein explosion on Monday are speaking out about the deadly blast. In an exclusive interview with WLOX, the men describe what happened, and how they survived.More >>
    Two of the men injured in the Omega Protein explosion on Monday are speaking out about the deadly blast. In an exclusive interview with WLOX News, the men describe what happened that day, and how they survived.More >>
  • Hundreds of mourners celebrate life of Ja-Naya Thompson

    Hundreds of mourners celebrate life of Ja-Naya Thompson

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 6:54 AM EDT2014-07-23 10:54:08 GMT
    As Ja-Naya Thompson's short life was celebrated, there were a lot of tears and hugs as hundreds of people paid their respects during the visitation and the funeral service.More >>
    As Ja-Naya Thompson's short life was celebrated, there were a lot of tears and hugs as hundreds of people paid their respects during the visitation and the funeral service. People told me they went to Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church for two reasons, to mourn the loss of five year old Ja-Naya and to show support to the parents who must now face life without their beloved child.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

208 DeBuys Road
Biloxi, MS 39531
(228) 896-1313

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WLOX. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.