Chemical packaging plant explodes

An explosion followed by a fire at a chemical packaging plant in West Helena, AR, killed three firefighters and caused the governor to declare a state of emergency as the area was evacuated due to toxic fumes.

A spokesman for BPS, Inc., which specializes in packaging agricultural pesticides and herbicides, said a smoldering bag of chemicals caught fire and triggered the explosion. BPS is one of the companies that packages Dursban insecticide for DowElanco, Indianapolis. A child-resistant, senior-friendly bag holding individual water-soluble pouches of Dursban 50W has twice won packaging honors in the annual competition of the Flexible Packaging Assn. (see PW, March '97, p. 78).

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