Is the Raytheon nuke weapons plant on fire? : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Ok, check out this post at rumor mills. Anyone here who's local to that area or has been in contact with anyone there who can confirm or deny? This is pretty big news if true, and apologize in advance if it's been posted on already.

-- justtryin (tofindout@whatsup.thatsall), February 27, 2000


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Blaze rages through NAC

-view photos-


A fire in an area of the North American Corporation sent flames and black smoke billowing into the Elizabethton dawn Friday morning as fire crews from around Northeast Tennessee fought to bring the blaze under control. "We are not going to have it out anytime soon," said Elizabethton Fire Chief Mike Shouse just after 9:30 a.m.

Friday. Shouse was on the scene at the NAC plant as city firefighters along with dozens of volunteers from all Carter County volunteer fire departments worked feverishly to extinguish the fire.

Shouse said as of Friday morning, no NAC employees or fire personnel had been injured.

"I would estimate we have about 10 departments and approximately 100 to 150 firefighters working," said Shouse, who added that some portions of the burning building's roof had collapsed of late.

"That building has 12 to 14 inches of tar roofing built upon top of it. It is too dangerous for us to send our people in the building right now."

Elizabethton City Schools were canceled Friday and Elizabethton Police closed Elk Avenue from West G Street to near Wal-Mart as a perimeter was established around NAC.

"I got a call about 5:30 a.m.," said Charles Greene, owner of North American Corporation. Greene said shift employees were on the job when the fire was reported.

"Apparently it started in the packaging material. They tried to put it out with fire extinguishers and they called the fire department."

Greene said the fire had damaged the NAC building but had not affected the Doe River Express trucking company or industrial equipment. NAC has approximately 100 employees at the Elizabethton site.

The fire's presence also raised a significant fear with the presence of a large amount of chlorine in the building. The combination of fire and chlorine did not alarm firefighters and emergency authorities. Their concern revolved around the potential combination of chlorine and water, a toxic combination.

"For the last several years, the plant has been a storage company for Dow Chemical," said Shouse. Chlorine represented the primary chemical of concern for emergency personnel.

"There are approximately 4 to 5 million pounds of chlorine from what we've been told," said Jim Burrough, executive director of the Carter County Emergency Management Agency.

"If chlorine comes in contact with water, it can give off a poisonous gas. If it got to that point, we feel like we need to evacuate surrounding areas."

One evacuation site would be Sycamore Shoals Hospital located adjacent to the NAC property. Shouse said approximately 50 patients were known to be at the hospital and hospital administration had been notified of the situation.

He added that as of 9:30 a.m. Friday, the plant's chlorine supply had not been engaged in anyway by the fire or water used to battle the fire.

One, if not the only thing working in the fire department's favor, said Shouse, was wind movement had kept the smoke from spreading or blowing through the community.

-- Carl Jenkins (, February 27, 2000.

Actually, the news is reporting that it's the North American Rayon plant, not the Raytheon Nuclear Plant that is on fire. Anybody have any verifiable information to the contrary? If not, the rumour is just that....

Chlorine presence brings TDEC, HAZMAT teams to NAR blaze -view photos-


The potentially dangerous combination of chlorine and water resulting from the North American Rayon fire Friday morning brought out the hazardous material handling teams from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation along with Johnson City's HAZMAT team.

"We have an emergency response crew for hazardous materials, solid waste, and water pollution control," said Matt Smith, solid waste supervisor with the regional TDEC office.

"As a precautionary measure, (TDEC) water pollution is on the back side of the plant checking for drainage into the river."

The chief chemical of concern was chlorine stored inside the NAR plant although the storage site was buffered by a fire wall inside the plant. Commonly used as tiny pellets in swimming pools, large amounts of chlorine and water mixed create a toxic substance. The potential evacuation of nearby population was not out of the question according to emergency personnel on the scene Friday morning.

Smith added that Tennessee Emergency Management Agency officials were also on the scene.

"Boons have been placed in the river," added Smith, who explained that a boon was a floatable absorbent placed on the river to absorb any drainage filtering into the river.

County Emergency Management Agency director Jim Burrough said Johnson City's HAZMAT team was at the scene as well with other team members on standby.

Smith said an incident commander, in this incident EFD Chief Mike Shouse, would take control of the scene.

-- Carl Jenkins (, February 27, 2000.

Raytheon doesn't manufacture any kind of nuclear weapons, unless you've confused nuking in a 'radar range' with such weapons. They haven't had that product line for years either. Help me here???

-- Mimi (, February 27, 2000.

From another story on the fire:

North American Corp. contracts with General Motors and Ford Motor Co. to make fibers for car hoses, Green said. The 1.3 million-square-foot plant once manufactured rayon for NASA and rayon and latex-treated yarns. Layoffs and production changes in 1997 reduced the workforce from about 1,300 to about 100 people, Green said. The company allowed Dow Chemical to use the plant for storing chlorine intended for swimming-pool use. The chemical is toxic and can be fatal if inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

-- Carl Jenkins (, February 27, 2000.

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