Minden Press-Herald

Oct 01st

Training aids response

Officials: Goex explosion could have been worse

An explosion of 1,000 pounds of black powder at a Camp Minden plant early Tuesday injured one person and completely decimated an entire building. But officials say it could have been much worse.

"Our training definitely helped us be better prepared to respond in a timely, technically proficient manner to the explosion," said Col. Carl Thompson, Camp Minden's Public Affairs Officer. Col. Thompson was referring to an annual training exercise that Camp Minden and area first responders perform each year to plan for such events.

Residents from as far away as Stonewall reported feeling their homes shake and hearing a loud boom around 6:20 a.m., when the explosion occurred at the Goex plant.

According to Col. Thompson, the explosion occurred in section G of Camp Minden inside Goex's manufacturing facility. Only section G was evacuated and first responders quickly established a command post.

"We have not conducted a training exercise involving Goex, but the Camp Minden Emergency Operations Plan is applicable to all emergencies – the response principles are the same," he said.

Those response principles include emergency reporting procedures, emergency notification procedures, evacuation of all personnel from the area to a safe distance as defined by the plan, accountability of personnel who have evacuated from the affected area, establishment of a command post and containment steps.

Among the first responders were Louisiana State Police Troop G.

"The state police were called out to perform two main functions," said Cordell Williams, public affairs officer for Troop G. "State police go in for emergency response and get people in place. After everything is contained and under control, they assist in the investigation as a joint effort with ATF to determine what caused the explosion. In this case, Goex officials will also be on hand to assist in the investigation."

According to Williams, the investigation could take up to a month to complete. In April, a fire broke loose at Camp Minden in a building that contained explosives. The cause of that fire has not been determined.

The damaged area was approximately 24 by 30 feet and the damage was contained to that area alone.

The building housing the explosives was completely destroyed and will have to be replaced.

The injured person was treated and released from Minden Medical Center with only minor injuries.

"We were lucky there wasn't more damage," Williams said. "We had a lot of spot fires and the wind and temperatures were not in our favor. Some things turned around, though, and we were able to contain those fires before it got out of control."

According to reports, Goex, which produces black powder ammunition, has exploded several times in the past: July 15, 2006; one injury, Nov. 3, 2004, no injuries; Oct. 31, 2001, two injures; Jan. 25, 2000, one injury; and Nov. 5, 1998, one killed.






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