Elementary school remains closed after explosion, fire at Magnes - KMOV.com

Elementary school remains closed after explosion, fire at Magnesium plant in Metro-East

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By Afton Spriggs By Afton Spriggs
By Afton Spriggs By Afton Spriggs
By Afton Spriggs By Afton Spriggs
By Afton Spriggs By Afton Spriggs
By Afton Spriggs By Afton Spriggs

(KMOV) -– Firefighters responded to an explosion around 10:15 p.m. on Monday night at a Magnesium plant in Venice, Illinois.

Witnesses report hearing multiple explosions and seeing a huge plume of smoke billowing from the Magnesium Elektron plant at College and Baucum streets.

Other witnesses report hearing an explosion as far away as north St. Louis.

Magnesium Elektron is located just west of Blair School and Mount Nebo Missionary Baptist Church.

There is no word yet on the cause. No injuries have been reported.

Venice Mayor Tyrone Echols says the plant's been around more than 50 years but has had several different owners.  He tells News 4 he hasn't been inside it in a couple of decades but wants another look around in the wake of Monday night's explosion. 

"I'm not accusing them of anything but I do want to be assured there's nothing that's harmful," says Echols.  "I think it kind of scared some people."

Mayor Echols says at one time about 500 people worked there.  Now it's between 50 and 100.

Magnesium fires are difficult to fight because water causes them to flare up. Firefighters had to let this fire burn itself out.

Breathing in fumes from Magnesium can cause eye, skin, and nose irritation, but it doesn't usally cause long-term effects. 

People who live near the explosion were evacuated from their homes overnight. Those evacuations were quickly cancelled and residents were allowed back into their houses.  Emergency leaders say the wind shifted and quickly started blowing the smoke away from Venice.

Bernard Elementary School in Venice is closed as a precaution due to the explosion. The school is a block away from the plant.

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