Explosion At Cherokee Nitrogen Plant Under Investigation

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COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Teams are investigating an explosion that happened late Tuesday night at the Cherokee Nitrogen Plant in Colbert County.

The explosion happened at 10:13 p.m.  Officials say it was a minor explosion, but it caused a big impact, and many residents across the Shoals were able to feel it. 

Don Phillips, Cherokee Nitrogen’s General Manager, says a high pressure line ruptured in the ammonia processing area.  The release of the pressure is what caused the noise and boom to be felt.

One employee sustained a minor injury to his head.

According to plant officials, the operation was down for repairs, and crews were starting back up when the explosion happened.

Phillips surveyed the damage and says the plant will be off-line for a few weeks as the investigation continues.

The plant operates as Cherokee Nitrogen Division and produces ammonia, regular nitric acid, ammonium nitrate solution and prill, urea, UAN solution and specialty ammonia/ammonium nitrate solutions. The plant also produces high purity ammonia for refrigeration and metallurgical applications.

Fire trucks and emergency personnel cleared the scene Tuesday by 11:15 p.m.

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