Explosives plant cleanup disrupts Louisiana town
Lewis said the cause of the Oct. 15 explosion remained under investigation.
The company isn’t currently allowed to manufacture any explosives, but can sell what it has. Authorities are hoping such sales could reduce the amount of the material in the area.
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said authorities have still not been in touch with the company’s owners, though police officials previously said a company manager was working with them. He didn’t know how many people were still displaced but said the majority of people in shelters had left them.
Sexton said explosions weren’t uncommon in the years that the munitions plant has operated, but he lamented the danger posed by the improper storage of the propellant.
‘‘They not only put their people in jeopardy, they put our people and the people around here in jeopardy,’’ he said.
Evacuees were allowed to stay for free at Lake Bistineau State Park, but ranger Marc Massom said only a few had shown up by midday. Masson, a Doyline resident who lives outside the evacuation zone, said some stayed at their houses because of fears about looting.
Lewis, of the state police, said that security was tight throughout the town with help from neighboring agencies, and that crime hadn’t been a problem.
Peetz, the retiree staying in the camper with his wife, said there should have been more oversight of the munitions storage.
‘‘I'd like to see more state and federal checks on who is there and what the hell they’re making,’’ Peetz said.
McGill reported from New Orleans.