Fire, explosions destroy Ark. meat packing plant

BOONEVILLE, Ark. (AP) -- Authorities in Arkansas say a series of explosions at a meat packing plant has destroyed the factory and caused an ammonia gas leak that forced 180 people from their homes.

One official says the fire started in a freezer section of the Cargill Meat Solutions plant. He says workers were doing some welding on some fans. The official says the welders put their equipment up "and turned around and there was a fire."

However, authorities say no one was injured.

According to the Booneville Chamber of Commerce, the Cargill owned plant employs about 800 people and produces more than 2 million pounds of ground beef and steak per week.

Firefighters were unable to fight the blaze using conventional equipment because of the danger from the gasses, so they opted to let it burn itself out.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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