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Initial Investigation of Chemring Plant Explosion Begins

By Brittany Nicholson
By bnicholson@wbbjtv.com

HARDEMAN COUNTY, Tenn. -- Federal authorities began their investigation into a pair of Chemring plant explosions that left a man in critical condition, Sunday.

A Hardeman County man said he believes his mother is in danger by working at the plant.

"When something like this happens, you don't think about it til it happens and it's really scary," Bryant Hopper, a Toone resident, said.

Hopper remembers hearing explosions occasionally in his 17 years there, but after hearing one of the Chemring explosions Saturday, he now fears for his mother's safety.

"I think she's be better off finding another place to work. You know, safer than here," Hopper said.

Sunday afternoon the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) and the Hardeman County Sheriff, John Doolen, explained how they plan to tackle the investigation of the explosion that leaves one man in critical condition.

"We bring in ATF's national response team which is a collection of experts from around the country with ATF including chemists, engineers, bomb technicians," Special Agent John Fulton said.

Fulton said they have already conducted interviews, obtained video and secured the scene. They say they will start the official investigation first thing Monday morning.

"We're here to try to determine what the cause was and if there was anything criminal here," Fulton said.

Sheriff Doolen said his goal is to make sure residents are safe and they give the victim an explanation for why the explosion occurred.

"I believe giving the family a fair shake on what happened and having questions answered for them," Sheriff Doolen said. "I think that's the best thing we can do right now."

The Sheriff said he wants to assure residents of Toone they do not need to worry about about any chemicals in the air from the explosion.
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