Louisiana State Police say this photo shows hundreds of thousands of pounds of improperly stored explosive materials on properly leased by Explo Systems, Inc. at Camp Minden (Source: Louisiana State Police)
DOYLINE, LA (KSLA) -
School in Doyline is canceled for Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, as crews continue to work to move and secure millions of pounds of improperly stored black powder at Camp Minden.
Webster Parish School Superintendent Steve Dozier says Doyline High School is prepared for extended cancellations in light of the discovery over the weekend that there is an estimated 6 million pounds of the propellant on the Explo site.
Despite an evacuation order for Doyline, many people have returned to their homes because the evacuation is not mandatory. Officials recommend if you must go home in Doyline to go home only at night. Louisiana State Police estimate about 3/4 of Doyline residents have returned home.
"When you're looking at 6-million pounds of this product, nobody really knows the full impact of that," said Lt. Julie Lewis with Louisiana State Police.
The cleanup might not affect the upcoming election on Saturday, Dec. 8, but Webster Parish officials are making preparations just in case. Voters will have a choice to make in the 26th judicial race.
As a precaution, Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton has joined the Louisiana Secretary of State's office in requesting a venue change for voting locations.
But that venue change will take effect only if the cleanup process is still occurring and people remain evacuated on Saturday.
Authorities had initially estimated the total of M6 stored at the site at 1 million pounds after the initial investigator saw cardboard boxes on long rows of pallets behind a building. Police found more stacked in sheds and warehouses when crews returned Saturday to begin moving the boxes into bunkers about two miles away on the former munitions site, state police spokesman Capt. Doug Cain said Sunday.
"It wasn't in their storage magazines. They had it hidden on the property, away from the storage magazines where we would expect to find it," Cain said.
Edmonson said "it was stuffed in corners. It was stacked all over."
Crews moved about 300,000 pounds on Monday and have moved about 1.2 million pounds total from the tightest-packed buildings into approved containers and onto 27 tractor-trailers to move to storage bunkers. Another 250,000 pounds had been moved a safe distance from the bulk of the material. It won't all have to be moved into bunkers to let people return home - the evacuation could be lifted once the propellant is divided into amounts that won't threaten the town if some ignites, with each area a safe distance from the others, Edmonson said.
Dozier believes rain expected on Wednesday could delay the delicate process even further.
Parents have been notified of cancellations through a phone calling system. The school's website will also be used to update the schedule.
In order to meet the state's minimum attendance requirement, the school will add minutes on to the 2nd semester schedule. That's the plan for the loss of Monday and Tuesday. Dozier says further planning could be needed if more days are missed.
Officials expect to make a determination Tuesday about whether school will be in session on Wednesday.
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