Homes evacuated, schools closed due to plant explosions

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com Smoke from the burning biodiesel plant near New Albany has begun to settle in low-lying areas nearby.

Thomas Wells | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Smoke from the burning biodiesel plant near New Albany has begun to settle in low-lying areas nearby.

Daily Journal

Approximately 50 homes were set to be evacuated due to the Tuesday morning explosion at a Union County biodiesel plant.

New Albany schools have been closed today as well.

The North Mississippi Biodiesel plant on Highway 15 was left to burn after explosions at 5:30 a.m. and shortly before 1 p.m., and there are concerns about drainage areas being contaminated by products leaking from the plant site. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the United States Environment Service are working to contain the products.

MDEQ and the Mississippi National Guard 47th Civil Support Team have air monitoring teams in the area to test for hazardous materials that may leave the site. Heavy smoke from the explosions has settled in the evacuation area, including the North Haven community.

The American Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuated residents Wednesday at the Victory Life Center at 116 North Denton Rd. in New Albany.

Highway 15 in north Union County remains closed as crews work the scene, and the Mississippi Department of Transportation expects it to open by mid-afternoon.

A press conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. to update the situation.