3rd explosion at New Albany bio-diesel plant, site survey begins - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Bio-diesel plant has third explosion; site survey underway

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NEW ALBANY, MS -

(WMC-TV) - The Mississippi Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is doing a site survey at JNS Biofuels in New Albany Thursday to find out what is still burning and what has already burned since a fire caused explosions at the plant Wednesday.

MEMA's Curt Clayton said there have been a total of three explosions at the bio-diesel facility, the most recent happening at 5 a.m. Thursday.

The plant's purpose is to turn substances like chicken fat into bio-diesel. That all changed when fire broke out Wednesday, causing an explosion at the plant that could be heard, seen, and felt for miles.

Fire crews and first responders had to sit back and watch the fire burn because of the uncertainty that comes with the some of the chemicals housed at the plant.

"When this first started we didn't think it was this big, then the second explosion, which was yesterday, prevented us from doing what we're doing today," said Clayton. "I was thinking we made the right decision by letting it burn out and not having anybody down there."

Clayton said they do not know what caused the fire at this time. Two JNS Biofuels employees were at the plant Wednesday morning, but they were not injured.

"They had two employees on site at the time of the fire when it started out, but they got off the site before the explosion," he said.

The site survey will give EMA officials a better idea of what they are working with and how to move forward.

"Before we could look at it real close, they've flown helicopters and stuff and got aerial photos of it but we still couldn't see the stuff that we needed to see so we decided this morning to send a foot ground team in to do a site survey for us," Clayton explained.

The plant has no history of problems in the seven or eight years it has been in operation in New Albany.

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