Plant explosion update: additional evacuations ordered in Union County

This is a news release from Union County

UNION COUNTY – Union County Officials are evacuating approximately 50 homes in the North Haven Community as a fire continues to burn at the North Mississippi Biodiesel plant on Highway 15 about three miles north of New Albany. There were two explosions at the plant today and heavy smoke is settling in the evacuation area. Union County Emergency Management says the North Haven community is in a low lying area where the smoke is expected to linger.

The American Red Cross has opened a shelter at the Victory Life Center at 116 North Denton Road in New Albany.

Highway 15 remains closed as emergency crews work the scene.

The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the United States Environmental Service are containing products that have leaked from the plant to nearby drainage areas.

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.

An initial explosion occurred at the plant at 5:30 a.m. and a second blast happened at 3 p.m. causing the fire re-intensify. No injuries have been reported. The cause of explosion is under investigation.

Power has been restored to the Town of Blue Mountain and surrounding areas in Tippah County, including Blue Mountain College, which were affected earlier by a substation damaged by the explosion.

Agencies responding to the incident include Union County EMA, MEMA, MHP, MDOT, MDEQ, MSNG, Union County Sheriff's Department, New Albany Police, North Haven Fire Department, Myrtle Fire Department, New Albany Fire Department, American Red Cross and USES.

Media with questions should contact Union County Emergency Management Director Curt Clayton at 662-255-4992.