KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – New details regarding the January 2019 fire and explosion at Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Kingsport were released at a public meeting Wednesday night.
According to Justine Barati, Director of Public and Congressional Affairs, talks are ongoing with OSHA about the explosion.
Barati told News Channel 11 that a fire in a manufacturing building triggered the sprinkler system. The asphalt and shingles roof above the sprinkler system caught fire. Barati noted that the roof of the building was similar to that used on many houses.
Barati said that a plywood and steel trailer was parked under a roof overhang of the building. The trailer was carrying 2,500 lbs. of RDX-based explosives. The trailer caught fire and at least some of the explosives detonated, destroying the trailer.
Barati said the explosion blew out the roof fire, but burning trailer debris caught wooden barricades around the building on fire.
The explosion also created a shockwave and demolished the building.
Barati told News Channel 11 that HAAP has a 5,000 lbs. per day burn limit. She said it is unknown how much of the 2,500 lbs. of explosives burned and how much exploded.
Barati said at the time, the BAE plant was evacuated. Three weeks after the event, the plant restarted most operations. In June 2019, the operations that had the fire and explosion restarted.
Barati also noted that there is no data on air emissions, which was asked about at Wednesday night’s meeting.