Minden Press-Herald

Thursday
Oct 02nd

Cleanup continues at Camp Minden

It could take up to three more weeks to finish moving military propellant into storage at an explosives recycling company that caused the evacuation of Doyline, authorities said Wednesday.

Doyline was evacuated for several days this month after authorities said they found six million pounds of the material improperly stored at Explo Systems Inc.Explo contracts with the military to demilitarize explosives and other materials and rents space at a National Guard base in north Louisiana.

The material found improperly stored on the base is called M6 and is used as a propellant for artillery rounds. Authorities feared that ignition of any of the propellant could set off a massive chain reaction that could threaten Doyline.

Louisiana State Police spokesman Matt Harris said Wednesday that crews have moved 4.6 million pounds of product into proper storage sites. He said it could take another two or three weeks to finish the job.

Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said Wednesday that the material is being moved into bunkers provided by the military and other explosive companies on the base.

A criminal investigation into the company's handling of the product is ongoing.

Explo Systems officials have not responded to numerous messages from The Associated Press or the Minden Press-Herald since the material was found on the base.

Some boxes of the material were stacked in buildings, some were packed into long corridors that connect the buildings and still more were found stashed outside. Some of the containers were spilling open.

Authorities found the material after an explosion in October, but that wasn't the first blast at the site. A series of at least 10 explosions at the Louisiana facility in 2006 caused an evacuation of Doyline.

Explo Systems was cited for safety violations by the federal government and the state of West Virginia in 2007 for its use of old Army explosives in mining operations.

Despite multimillion dollar government contracts, Explo Systems had fallen behind on its rent at the Louisiana base. Authorities say Explo officials asked earlier this year to lease more space at the base but that the request was turned down because the company was roughly $400,000 behind on rent.

 

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