AR blasts force evacuations

Several blasts at an Arkansas chemical plant forced evacuations.

BY SUSAN KIM | CONWAY, Ark. | January 6, 2003

Several explosions at an Arkansas chemical plant Tuesday forced evacuations of an elementary school, daycare center, trailer park, and paper factory, all in the Conway area, according to police reports.

The plant operated by Detco Industries has hydrofluoric acid, sulfuric acid and methanol on the premises, according to emergency management reports.

Detco is an industrial chemical manufacturer. Its products include cleaning supplies and pesticides.

Several more blasts were heard after the initial explosion, and a black plume of smoke could be seen from as far as Little Rock, some 30 miles away.

At least two people were injured and all plant workers were accounted for, said police.

A nearby airport was shut down after the incident but was able to reopen. Arkansas transportation officials also closed an Interstate 40 exit south of Conway because all roads off the exit were in the evacuation zone.

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