Several explosions at the biodiesel facility rocked the surrounding area, but the first explosion occurred at about 5:30 a.m. on Jan. 22. Public-safety authorities closed a nearby highway as police and firefighters responded to the incident. Two employees were at the plant when the first explosion occurred, but they escaped. No injuries were reported.
Public-safety officials responding to the blast evacuated some residents in the early hours of Jan. 22, directing them to an American Red Cross shelter. Some residents in the neighboring town of Blue Mountain temporarily lost power. The Mississippi National Guard was dispatched to aerially survey the plant fire. The cause of the explosion is still under investigation.