This photo from the Louisiana State Police shows how Explo improperly stored an estimated 6 million pounds of M6 powder. (Source: LSP)
DOYLINE, LA (KSLA) -
The task of moving an estimated 6 million pounds of M6 powder found illegally stored at Camp Minden has become more difficult than Louisiana State Police first thought.
Under state police supervision, Explo workers have safely stored 1.26 million pounds of the munitions powder, but the work is more difficult due to the size of the storage space.
"They're (the bundles of M6 powder) in these corridors, and they're in these buildings, so (Explo employees) are moving the product, segregating it to a point right now where we can get these chain links separated, and the product will be a lot safer," said Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton.
Right now workers are moving the product into bunkers built to Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms specifications, but that bunker space is limited.
When those bunkers are full, workers will begin moving the M6 powder to remote areas of Camp Minden, and storing them in smaller bundles far away from each other. State police say if one bundle of powder happens to ignite, it will be far away from any populated area and it won't cause a chain-reaction explosion with other bundles of the powder.
State police say if they left the bundles altogether, the way Explo stored them, it's unknown what damage a chain-reaction blast would cause.
Louisiana State Police still want Doyline residents to stay away from the town until they deem the area safe.
"There's an evacuation zone for a reason," said Louisiana State Police Lt. Julie Lewis. "If possible, we strongly encourage you to stay away."
Still, about 75% of Doyline residents have returned home despite the danger warning from authorities.
"I just don't have a gut feeling that something bad is going to happen," said Doyline resident Jacob Woodrome.
Schools in Doyline are closed at least through Thursday. The non-mandatory evacuation is extended through Thursday as well. State police say they're taking the situation day-by-day.
Monday, May 20 2013 9:11 AM EDT2013-05-20 13:11:23 GMT
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