An ammunition plant explosion and fire left three injured and one dead Wednesday, emergency authorities said.
The ammunition plant is located on a property where several businesses have licenses for ammunition and explosives, said Michael Knight, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives spokesman. Knight said it is not immediately clear which plant was involved, but said agents were still trying to determine what exactly happened at the site in McEwen, Tennessee, about 55 miles west of the capital of country music, Nashville.
“The explosion did considerable damage to the facility,” said Odell Poyner, director of the Humphreys County Emergency Management Agency.
Poyner said authorities received reports that about 20 employees were in the building at the time the explosion and fire took place, which he said blew out two walls and a large portion of the roof. He said he didn’t know who owned the building but he thought that the property it sits on belongs to Accurate Energetic Systems, a company whose website says it is a manufacturer of explosives for the defense and aerospace industries.
ABC 15 says a telephone number listed for AES rang busy multiple times and was later picked up by a recording saying that the business was closed. A telling sign or pure coincidence?
It is not immediately clear what happened first, the raging fire or the blast.
Firefighters from both Humpreys and Hickman counties battled the fire that blazed throughout the ammunition plant, located in a rural area near the line dividing the counties, Poyner said. The fire from the explosion in turn started several brush fires in a nearby forested area. All fires had been put out by the end of Wednesday night, Poyner said.