(New Albany, MS) OSHA is investigating the fire at a biofuel plant in New Albany, Miss.
Fire and explosions destroyed JNS Biofuels on Highway 15 Wednesday.
Thursday, some storage tanks were still burning and putting off heavy smoke.
Officials hope the worst is behind, but people living nearby are still on edge.
There was some good news Thursday afternoon from Union County EMA Director Curt Clayton, even as debris continued burning at the JNS Biofuels plant.
Uncertainty about what started the fire or what’s inside the large storage tanks on the JNS property is keeping emergency crews at a distance.
“We have not started any kind of cleanup, because we still got problems with explosions and fire,” said Clayton.
There have been three confirmed explosions at the plant, which is north of New Albany, since early Wednesday morning.
Dale Beavers lives on County Road 115, just a few hundred yards from JNS Biofuels.
He said he’ll never forget what he heard and saw Wednesday morning.
“There was a great big ol’ boom. I mean it shook windows for miles around. And there was fire shooting probably three or four hundred feet in the air,” said Beavers.
Two businesses across the highway from the fire had to shut down.
Four-hundred employees won’t be able to work until the area is safe again.
The plant fire caused some people to voluntarily evacuate their homes.
“It was very smokey, very horrible. It was just a scary thing,” said Abbie Wooldridge.
Wooldridge lives with her mother and decided to leave Wednesday when the fire got too close for comfort.
“I know it wasn’t mandatory, but I felt it was best for my family to get away from all the smoke and the fumes,” said Wooldridge.
New Albany schools closed Thursday over concern the heavy smoke would be harmful to students.
The Red Cross set up a shelter at Victory Life Church in New Albany, but so far no one’s used it.
None of JNS’s workers were injured and the plant manager said the biofuel company will re-build.
After what he’s been through, Beavers doesn’t like the sound of that.
“We got by this, this time without anybody getting hurt. And I hear he’s talking about building back just as quick as he can,” said Beavers.
Clayton said specially suited site teams are finally able to get into the burned area.
There are no plans for further evacuations, unless smoke conditions worsen.