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Evacuation lifted around natural gas plant blast

Jeff Barnard, Associated Press

Authorities have lifted the evacuation order around a liquefied natural gas plant on the Washington-Oregon border after an explosion there a day earlier.

The Benton County Sheriff's Department said Tuesday that the latest assessment at the Williams Northwest Pipeline storage facility outside Plymouth, Wash., found the danger had diminished enough that an evacuation is no longer necessary.

An explosion and fire in the processing plant on Monday injured five people and ruptured a huge LNG storage tank that is still leaking. But authorities say the gas is blowing away with the wind. Access to the plant remains restricted as investigators look into what caused the blast.

Originally, about 400 residents in a 2-mile radius of the plant were evacuated, and the order had been reduced to a 1-mile radius earlier Tuesday.