License of La. explosives company suspended

License suspended for Louisiana company accused of improperly storing explosives

Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- An explosives recycling company that authorities said improperly stored millions of pounds of a military propellant, causing the evacuation of a Louisiana town last year, was stripped of its state explosives licenses on Monday.

Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Julie Lewis said Explo System Inc.'s state explosives licenses will remain revoked "pending the adjudication of all civil and/or criminal violations."

The company has not been charged with any crimes, but state and federal investigations are ongoing.

A message left Monday at Explo System's office was not immediately returned.

Explo Systems had a multimillion-dollar military contract to dismantle charges that are used to fire artillery rounds. The company operated on space leased at Camp Minden, a Louisiana National Guard installation in northwest Louisiana.

An explosion last October led authorities to look more closely at Explo and its facility.

When an investigator went to the facility, authorities say, he discovered millions of pounds of an improperly stored propellant chemical called M6, leading to the evacuation of nearby Doyline, the town known as the backdrop for the TV series "True Blood."

Authorities say the M6 should have been stored in certified magazines — sometimes called bunkers — but some of it was found in boxes stacked in buildings, packed into long corridors that connect the buildings or "hidden" among trees outside. Some of the containers were spilling open, authorities say.

Authorities feared that ignition of any of the propellant could set off a massive chain reaction that would race through the corridors and blow up multiple buildings, threatening Doyline. Its 800 residents were put under a voluntary evacuation order for several days in December.

State police monitored the movement of the material into proper storage magazines, which took months as some of it was sold to other companies and the Guard provided additional space available at the installation.

Lewis said more than 10 million pounds of the material has now been properly stored and Explo relinquished its keys to the magazines at the installation.

A series of about 10 explosions at the facility caused an evacuation of Doyline in 2006. In 2007, Explo Systems was cited for violations in West Virginia for its use of an old military explosive for coal mining in 2007.

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