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Explosion reported at Eastman Chemical plant in Kingsport, Tennessee

Explosion seen on camera

KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- Emergency crews responded to a reported explosion at a chemical plant in Eastman Chemical Company in Tennessee, CBS affiliate WJHL-TV reports.

Aerial footage showed grey and white plumes rising from the manufacturing complex about 80 miles northeast of Knoxville on the border with Virginia. The company said no one was injured but employees were asked to shelter in place as a precaution.

Eastman lifted the shelter in place for the surrounding community Wednesday afternoon, but said those within a half-mile of the explosion should continue to stay inside. Police shut down roads within the immediate area. Schools in the area were briefly told to shelter in place before resuming normal operations Wednesday afternoon. 

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation told WJHL it was aware of the incident and closely monitoring developments, providing technical assistance as needed.

Eastman said a "process upset" in the area of the plant dealing with coal gasification caused a "loud noise and a visible plume." The company advised neighbors around the plant to remain indoors and turn off their air conditioning.

Police, fire and emergency crews responded to the incident, which was reported shortly after 10 a.m. local time. 

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