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No injuries reported in explosion at box maker’s plant

RICHLAND — Authorities say an explosion at a cardboard box manufacturing plant in Richland triggered a chemical spill, but no injuries were reported.

Richland Fire Department spokesman Rob Martin said workers safely evacuated the International Paper facility after the explosion early Thursday.

Ernie Shirley of the state Department of Environmental Quality said the explosion damaged tanks that spilled a hazardous chemical into the plant’s parking lot. Shirley said workers contained the spill before it could spread beyond the parking lot. The state agency was monitoring a company contractor’s cleanup work.

Martin said firefighters extinguished small “spot fires” that flared up after the blast, which occurred about 12:30 a.m. Martin said dust from a broken hose apparently triggered the explosion.


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