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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Feb. 7, 2007, 5 p.m.

Fire at Chemcentral being monitored by Fire Department

City of Kansas City, Mo., Fire Department, Police Department, Office of Emergency Management and Health Department officials, and City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen and Mayor Kay Barnes held a news conference at 4 p.m. to give an update on the explosion and fire that occurred at the Chemcentral plant at approximately 2:20 p.m. on Feb. 8.

There are no reports of injuries. The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time.

Due to the intensity of the fire and the need to exercise environmental caution, the fire is being permitted to burn itself out. Fifteen Fire Department units remain on standby at a safe distance.

Within a 1-mile radius around the plant, located at 910 N. Prospect Ave., evacuations have been made mandatory. It is not known how long this evacuation will remain in effect.

The EPA monitoring shows no ground pollutants in downtown Kansas City, Mo. Though there is no risk to people in the downtown area, officials ask that people not come to the scene to observe and that people who have respiratory problems, such as asthma, exercise caution and take medicine as needed.

Residents from the evacuation area should go to the American Red Cross shelter at North Kansas City High School, located 620 N.E. 23rd St. in North Kansas City. Buses are on standby courtesy of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority at 3410 Nicholson St. for those needing transportation to the high school.

The Aviation Department has issued a notice to airmen (NOTAM) for pilots flying into Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport advising them of the fire 2 miles to the east and its potential impact to visibility. The cloud of smoke appears to cross the paths of inbound flights, however, aircraft are landing and departing. There have been some media reports that pilots are being advised to wash aircraft upon landing due to airborne chemicals, but this is not true. Although, wash facilities are available as usual.

The Emergency Operations Center was activated at 2:25 p.m. and will remain activated to monitor the situation.

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