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Fire rages at North Miss. biofuel plant; too hot for firefighters

NEW ALBANY — A fire at a bio-diesel facility near New Albany was burning Wednesday and was so hot that firefighters could not get close enough to fight it, the Mississippi Highway Patrol said.

The fire at North Mississippi Biodiesel was reported at about 5:30 a.m., Highway Patrol spokesman Trooper First Class Ronny Hall said. He said several state and federal agencies were on the scene, but firefighters were letting the fire burn out.

Hall said he’s not aware of any injuries.

“At this time we believe everybody has been accounted for,” he said.

David L. Franks, listed as North Mississippi Biodiesel’s vice president in documents filed with the Mississippi Secretary of State’s office, declined to answer any questions when contacted today by The Associated Press. The company was incorporated in 2005, according to secretary of state’s office records.

Phil Nanney, executive director of the Union County Development Association, told AP that firefighters have the situation under control and plan to let the fire burn out.

Nanney said the business is “relatively small operation” with about five employees. He said a church daycare center near the plant asked parents to keep their children home Wednesday as a precaution.

“A large plume of smoke could be seen from several miles away,” Nanney said.

Hall said two businesses across the highway were evacuated as a precaution. There were no homes nearby.

The plant is located near New Albany on Mississippi Highway 15, which has been closed to traffic. Hall said the facility has up to six storage tanks that hold materials used in making biodiesel fuel.

New Albany is a town of about 8,000 people in northeast Mississippi.

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