Crews continue moving explosives at Louisiana munitions plant; authorities say it's secur

Crews were working again Wednesday to move millions of pounds of explosives that authorities said were improperly stored at a munitions recycling facility in north Louisiana.

Though some of the material was found out in the open, authorities said there was little danger it could have been stolen from the former Army base that's still guarded by military police.

State Police spokeswoman Julie Lewis said the materials are being moved to a safe location at the Camp Minden industrial site in Webster Parish.

The town of Doyline remains under a voluntary evacuation, though officials said most residents had either stayed or returned to their homes.

Authorities said about 6 million pounds of explosives was not stored in approved shelters at the facility operated by Explo Systems Inc. State police have opened a criminal investigation.

Officials of Explo Systems have not responded to repeated requests for comment.

The material, including an artillery shell propellant known as M6, was found last week stuffed into corridors that connect storage buildings or left in the open, authorities said.

Their primary concern was that a significant ignition source such as lightning or a wildfire could have set off the material left outside. They also worried that ignition in one of the storage buildings could spread to others in a chain reaction through the connecting corridors.

The site is now a state-owned industrial park that still houses National Guard operations. Lewis said the facility is guarded by military police and a series of checkpoints.

Lewis said guards even chased down a marked state police vehicle when it failed to stop at a checkpoint.

"This is military police. They are not taking this lightly. It's a secure facility," Lewis said.

The voluntary evacuation of Doyline, a town of about 800 people in Webster Parish 25 miles east of Shreveport, was expected to continue at least through Thursday.