Texas plant fire under control, evacuations lifted

July 30, 2009 6:57:22 PM PDT
An evacuation order has been lifted for thousands of central Texas residents after a chemical plant fire was brought under control. Fire Chief Mike Donoho says a majority of residents may return to Bryan, a city of about 80,000 about 100 miles north of Houston.

The city had been under a mandatory evacuation order Thursday because of the fire at a plant that processes explosive ammonium nitrate.

A scaled-back evacuation remains in effect for a small area surrounding El Dorado Chemical Co. plant, including about 30 homes in Bryan.

Area hospitals have treated at least 34 people for smoke inhalation and other ailments possibly related to the fire.

The blaze that began about noon and continues to smolder had emitted a plume of smoke that extended more than 60 miles.


Associated Press writers Monica Rhor and Juan Lozano contributed to this report.