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GA plant continues to burn

Evacuations stayed in effect today as a Conyers chemical plant continued to burn.

BY HEATHER MOYER | CONYERS, Ga. | May 26, 2004

Evacuations stayed in effect today as a chemical plant continued to burn after yesterday's explosion.

An explosion early Thursday at the BioLab chemical plant created a huge plume of black smoke, causing evacuations of numerous residents within a five-mile radius of the plant. Most of the evacuations occurred within the area of the smoke, which is said to contain irritating fumes from burning chlorine pellets.

This morning, Conyers' city officials are saying that no one has been allowed to return to their homes yet. Conyers is an east Atlanta suburb.

"The evacuation area has actually slightly increased from yesterday, I would say it's about a three-square mile area in the shape of a triangle," said Kim Lucas of th City of Conyers. "We're estimating that people may be able to return late this afternoon, but that's not a definite."

No injuries were reported at the plant, but some people were treated and released from local hospitals due to respiratory issues.

Lucas said the fire at the plant is not as severe as yesterday, but it is still a concern.

“That kind of fire has to just burn out, there’s no way to put it out,” said Captain Carolyn Hunter of the Rockdale County 911 Emergency Division. The fire is contained within the BioLab warehouse.

Parts of nearby Interstate 20 that were closed yesterday due to smoke have been reopened today.

Two evacuations site have been set up, both at local schools. Lucas said over 140 people stayed at the shelters overnight.

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