Authorities say they have run out of bunkers at a Louisiana military base for some of the millions of pounds of explosives that prompted a town’s evacuation after the material was found haphazardly stored.
Sheriff Gary Sexton in Louisiana’s Webster Parish told The Associated Press on Thursday that authorities are searching for more bunker space to store the military propellant M6, which is used in artillery shells. He said the material may have to be moved out of state.
Authorities have already moved more than 6 million pounds of explosives after an explosion in October triggered an investigation of Explo Systems Inc., an explosives recycling company with a contract to demilitarize the material.
Explo Systems rents space for its business at Camp Minden, a sprawling Louisiana National Guard base.
A nearby town of about 800 people called Doyline was evacuated for nearly a week in December because authorities feared any explosion could trigger a massive chain reaction blast. Doyline is about 25 miles east of Shreveport.
Louisiana State Police spokesman Matt Harris said Thursday that officials don’t want to speculate on just how much more material needs a proper storage facility, but it’s enough that more bunkers are needed.
Sexton said the remaining material can still be packaged for sale, but recent stormy weather has hindered efforts to make sure it is properly contained or removed.
State police spokeswoman Julie Lewis has said the materials found outside at the facility appeared to have been “hidden” outside buildings among the trees at the sprawling base.
Explo Systems officials haven’t responded to numerous messages seeking comment since the investigation began. An attorney who represented the company in the past declined to comment when a reporter visited his office in Shreveport.
The Army awarded Explo Systems a contract in 2010 to demilitarize hundreds of thousands of propelling charges for artillery rounds. The contract was for $2.9 million with options for renewal for four years. The contract called for the demilitarization of as many as 450,000 propelling charges per year. Demilitarizing explosives generally entails changing a device or chemical in a way that it can’t be used for its originally intended purposes.
Stephen Abney, a spokesman for the Army’s Joint Munitions Command, has said Explo requested on Nov. 27 that the government hold all shipments because Louisiana authorities would not allow them to receive it until inspections and investigations have been completed.
Lt. Col. Michael Kazmierzak, a Louisiana National Guard spokesman, has said Explo officials asked early last 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. He said the company never again brought up the need for more space, but worked out a plan to pay back rent.
Follow Mohr at http://twitter.com/holbrookmohr
More Related Stories
- Illinois' fracking and coal rush is a national crisis
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Louie Gohmert: Women should be forced to carry nonviable pregnancies to term
- 2 men arrested for endangering commercial aircraft
- Oversized load blamed for bridge collapse
- This is what Guy Fieri looks like as a balloon
- Iran hackers aiming at U.S. energy firms
- Lawyers release data in attempt to discredit Trayvon Martin
- Anonymous rallies behind Kaitlyn Hunt
- Bridge collapse: Part of "aging infrastructure"
- Mistrial in penalty phase of Arias case
- Amanda Bynes arrested after hurling bong from window
- Interstate 5 bridge collapses north of Seattle
- Mississippi could begin prosecuting women for miscarriages
- Teenage girl claims she was beaten up for looking like Taylor Swift
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11