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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 8, 2007, 12:15 p.m.

Chemcentral fire update

Following another explosion at approximately 11:25 a.m. today at the Chemcentral Corporation facility in the East Bottoms, Fire Chief Richard "Smokey" Dyer and Emergency Manager D.A. Christian, will brief the City Council this afternoon. The briefing will be at the City Council Business Session at 1:45 p.m. on the 10th floor of City Hall.

No injuries have been reported from this morning's explosion, but fire officials say that because of the hotspots on the site, other explosions may occur throughout the day, similar to the one that occurred this morning. Therefore, the perimeter has been expanded from several blocks to one-half mile around the facility. No one will be allowed inside the perimeter.

The following details were provided at a 9 a.m. news conference today:

-- The cause of the explosions is still under investigation.

-- The fire has drastically reduced from yesterday.

-- KCFD in conjunction with the Southern Platte Fire Protection District is preparing final extinguishment with fire fighting foam.

-- One Chemcentral employee and one Fire Department employee received minor injuries. Their current status is unknown.

-- A one-half mile block radius around the plant, located at 910 N. Prospect Ave., is still evacuated and being maintained by the Police Department. At this time it is not known how long these evacuations will remain in effect.

-- The American Red Cross closed the shelter at North Kansas City High School at approximately 8 a.m. today. Residents of the evacuation area should call the American Red Cross at (816) 931-8400 if they need shelter today or tonight.

-- Fire fighters are currently placing flyers at residences and businesses with information on how to handle fire debris, proper hand washing and addresses other health matter concerns citizens may have.

-- The EPA is continuing to monitor air quality. "The data we have thus far shows that levels for all monitored contaminants are well below the EPA's national ambient air quality standards, which are health based standards," according to the EPA.

-- The Emergency Operations Center was activated at 2:25 p.m. Feb. 7, following the initial explosion which occurred at approximately 2:20 p.m. Its activation level was reduced from Level 3 to Level 2 at 8 p.m. yesterday and will remain activated to monitor the situation until the evacuation perimeters are lifted.

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