No injuries reported after explosion at East Tennessee chemical plant

(Courtesy: WJHL)

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) – A series of coal gas explosions at a chemical plant has sent up a big plume of smoky black pollution and forced people nearby to shelter in place.

Eastman Chemical says “there have been no injuries reported beyond first aid” from Wednesday’s accident in the coal gasification area of its Kingsport factory.

The company said it reported what it calls “a process upset” to authorities. Witnesses described three loud explosions as a flare stack blew, followed by two gasifiers.

Neighbors were warned to shelter in place. People who live within a half-mile had to stay put for four and a half hours.

Wednesday was the anniversary of an Oct. 4, 1960, explosion and fire at Tennessee Eastman Co.’s Aniline factory that killed 16 people and injured 400 others.