6 Million Pounds of Explosives Found: Louisiana Town Evacuated 04 Dec 12

While you never really know what’s going on behind the closed doors of other people’s homes and businesses, you probably don’t expect to find enough explosives to threaten detonatation of a whole town. But, that’s just what officials discovered when investigating Explo Systems Inc, a munitions and consultant company in Doyline, Louisiana.

A Louisiana State Police trooper found six million pounds of M6 propellant, a smokeless material used for large ammunitions, which was improperly strewn about Explo’s property. “It was in boxes sitting on pallets. It was in sheds. It was in warehouses,” police captain Doug Cain said. “It was out in an open area. Hundreds and hundreds of boxes were lying in the woods.”

Officials weren’t exactly sure what would happen if such a large amount of explosives ignited, but the danger was large enough that on Friday all of Doyline’s 800 residents were asked to evacuate, and area schools were closed on Monday while police continued the effort to get the material properly packaged for commercial shipment or stored in certified safe facilities.

Although the stockpile is currently stable and would need an ignition source to explode, the possibility of thunderstorms are complicating the cleanup. According to Lt. Julie Lewis, if lightening is spotted within a five mile radius, efforts will be suspended until the weather clears, which could delay when residents can return and when schools reopen.

Explo Systems Inc leases and controls around 400 acres of the 15,000-acre state owned Camp Minden, the site of a former US ammunition plant and National Guard training facility. Explo has operated for seven years and, according to news reports, works to recover explosives and propellant from munitions.

Last week’s state police inspection was prompted after one of Explo’s magazines exploded in October. Currently, police have launched administrative and criminal investigations.

Phone calls were made to Explo Systems; however, the woman answering the phone said no one was available to comment about the incident. The police are working with a manager to conduct the cleanup, but the company’s owners are believed to be on a business trip to South Korea and are expected to return Monday.