Fire, explosion at West Virginia chemical plant prompt warning for neighbors

National News

West Virginia (NBC) (12/09/20)— West Virginians in a two-mile radius of a chemical plant in Belle were told to shelter in place after a fire and explosion Tuesday night, officials said.

The explosion occurred at the Chemours plant just after 10 p.m., the Kanawha County Commission said. The company that owns the plant later said the fire at the site was under control.

Image: Chemours Bell Plant fire

Two people were hurt but details of the injuries were not being released late Tuesday, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper told NBC affiliate WSAZ of Huntington.

“There was a fire at one of the tenant companies at our site in Belle, West Virginia. Site responders worked to contain the fire,” Chemours said in an email. It directed questions to another company that did not immediately return a voice message.

Aerial video posted to social media captured images of the fire burning.

The shelter-in-place remained in effect early Wednesday.

Gov. Jim Justice tweeted that he has been briefed and that he and his wife were praying for the safety of everyone involved.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, also tweeted his concern.

School closings for Wednesday were announced by the county.

Chemours formed as a spinoff from DuPont in 2015. The plant is along the Kanawha River in eastern Kanawha County.

Belle, with a population of around 1,100, is southeast of Charleston. The county commission said that the shelter-in-place order covers all of Belle, as well as the communities Marmet, Chesapeake and Chelyan.

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