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IL explosions force evacuation

Explosions in a plastics plant in central Illinois caused a temporary evacuation.

BY SUSAN KIM | ILLIOPOLIS, Ill. | April 26, 2004

After explosions occurred Friday night in a plastics plant in Illiopolis (in central Illinois), residents within a mile radius of the plant were evacuated but most were back in their homes by Saturday afternoon.

The fire was still smoldering Saturday night.

Hundreds of evacuated residents were staying at the Decatur mall, and emergency supplies were distributed at a Kmart in Springfield. Residents were able to return to their homes when tests indicated the air was safe to breathe.

Four plant workers were killed and two others were critically injured. Six other workers suffered less serious injuries.

The explosion happened about 10:45 p.m. Friday night at the Formosa Plastics plant when workers were mixing vinyl chloride and vinyl acetate.

The blast destroyed more than half of the plant, which employs about 135 workers.

Illiopolis is 25 miles east of Springfield.

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