By Calvin Palmer
A fire at a chemical plant that saw a central Texas town put under a mandatory evacuation order was eventually brought under control yesterday evening.
The fire broke out around noon at the El Dorado Chemical Co, which processes ammonium nitrate into fertilizer, in the town of Bryan.
The explosive nature of the chemical and the plumes of smoke prompted officials to order an evacuation of the 70,000 residents.
The fire also caused the closure of the campus of Texas A&M University at nearby College Station.
By the evening, Fire Chief Mike Donoho said a majority of the residents could return to their homes. The evacuation order was still in effect for 30 homes close to the chemical plant.
Officials were unable to say how many residents were actually evacuated but at least 34 people were treated at hospital for the effects of smoke inhalation.
At one point, the fire caused a plume of smoke to extend for 60 miles.