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Tornado rips through Plaquemine chemical plant

Thursday, January 10, 2013 - 7:30pm

It was around 7:30 Thursday morning when Leonard Reed heard something come across the radio while he was at work.

"It sounded like a tornado was outside and we started to hear a loud whistle and they said it sounds like a train that exactly what it sounded like," said SNF Flopam Employee, Leonard Reed.

The whistle quickly turned into a full blown tornado that touched down in only a matter of minutes.

"The tornado started about the southeast corner of the property field where we store equipment and then it proceeded northwest through the property where were standing here," said Paul West, the plant manager.

The SNF Flopam chemical plant that's located just a mile south of Plaquemine now has about $100,000 dollars worth of damage. "The tornado passed right through here I believe in these two building and it sucked this door open and then pulled in a draft through this building and that's what collapsed the ceiling tiles," said West.

And Reed says even though it was gone in a matter of minutes, he was still scared of what might happen next. "It was scary at first because when we looked back here down the hall you could see the doors swing opened and stared to suck everything out of here," noted Reed

And officials say this is definitely a first. "We've never had a tornado hit the facility before and this one went right through the middle of the property," said West.

But luckily none of their equipment was damaged, there were no chemical leaks, and no one was injured.” Everyone as fine and everyone survived," said a reassured Leonard Reed.

Now SNF Flopam tell NBC33 are going to look into a better early warning system, because they were alerted only a few seconds after it the tornado hit.

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