Kilgore plant neighbor: 'It's like a bomb went off' - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Kilgore plant neighbor: 'It's like a bomb went off'

(WMC-TV) – A second explosion is confirmed to have taken place Saturday night at the Kilgore plant in Toone, Tenn. The most recent explosion follows one that happened at 10:50 a.m. Saturday morning.

"It's like a bomb went off," said Michael Thurmond. "The whole house shook, we live out in the country and I ran to the door and the dogs were there, scared and my wife was asleep and woke up."

Thurmond contacted Action News 5 and said he heard the evening blast from more than three miles away.

"We've lived here 27 years and we've heard it explode quite a few times. It's been quite loud but never that. The plants been exploding for years," said Thurmond.

The morning explosion sent at least one person to The MED with possible life-threatening injuries. Additional employees were injured, though the extent of those injuries is not known at this time.

A machine blew up, injuring employee Michael Chism. He suffered severe burns and was flown to the burn unit at The MED.

Emergency crews put out the fire at the plant, which is located in Hardeman County.

Like neighbors mentioned, Saturday's explosion is not the first to happen at the Kilgore plant.

Another explosion happened in 2010, injuring two people.

"You never think something is going happen but you should think something is going happen with what you're working with," victim Katrina Jones told Action News 5 in 2011.

On that day in September 2010, officials found the site overloaded with flammable materials. Then Tennessee division of OSHA recorded 14 violations, some considered serious. The report also states that Kilgore should have known about the hazards back then.

Saturday afternoon, the Kilgore vice president and general manager issued a statement confirming the explosion and injury saying, "Their hearts and prayers are with him and his family."

An ATF National Response Team is activated and will be begin processing the scene Sunday. Investigators will then begin the process of ruling out any accidental causes of the incident.

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