The blast at the West Virginia plant injures 4 people and puts order on site

An explosion at a chemical plant in West Virginia that injured four people and shook surrounding homes prompted authorities to put order in a shelter. Early Wednesday morning at the Kanawha County Commission said the order was lifted.

The blast occurred Tuesday at 10pm at the Kemours factory in Belle Kanawha County community, the county committee said in a statement. Among the injured were two workers and a person who was hit by debris, Kanawha County Commissioner Kent Carper told WCHS-TV.

Officials believe the blast contains chlorinated dry bleach and methanol, Carper said.

“There was at least one very serious explosion and a working fire in the plant,” Carper told the news station.

Residents in the area reported that their house had been shaken. Disaster management officials announced that a shelter had been ordered for 2 miles around the plant and the nearby road was closed before firefighters could extinguish the flames and allow people to move.

View of fires at the Chemours chemical plant following an explosion in Belle, West Virginia
A picture of the Kemours chemical plant fire following the explosion in Belle, West Virginia, USA, on December 8, 2020, in this picture, taken from social media videos.

Timisha Leah Shears through REUTERS

Bellei Mayor David Fletcher, who is also a volunteer firefighter, said the flame was extinguished before midnight. “Right now, we feel like everything is in very good condition,” he told the TV station.

It was a very difficult day nonetheless, Jennifer Herrald, Kanawha County Manager, told the Associated Press.

“We lost a law enforcement officer and rested, our community had already hurt this incident, and then the day ended with the explosion of a chemical plant when our first respondents were already mourning and exhausted to deal with the funeral.” It was a difficult situation to experience this evening, ”he said.

Chemours was formed in 2015 from DuPont. The 723-acre site is located along the Kanawha River, about 10 miles southeast of Charleston. The city of Belle has about 1,100 inhabitants.