Black Powder Plant Explosion

Published: Nov. 3, 2004 at 10:18 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 5, 2004 at 10:13 PM CST
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REPORTER:  Jeff Ferrell

For at least the fourth time in six years, an explosion has rocked the Goex Plant in Webster Parish.  The black powder plant makes fireworks and gun powder.

Investigators say equipment separating grains of black powder malfunctioned, causing what the owner calls a rapid burn of black powder.  That burn, or explosion, could be felt miles away.  Gas station employee John Franklin told News 12 "it was just boom, that was it and it shook a little.  It shook the building a little bit."

Goex employee Corie Rhodes was on site when it happened.  "My heart started beating hard.  It was scary when I heard that sound, yeah."

Goex owner Mick Fahringer explained to News 12 the burst demolished the remotely controlled building.  Fahringer said quote, "these things happen.  The building did what it was supposed to do and no one was hurt."

Almost three years ago to the day,  federal and state investigators were at the black powder plant, for what was then the third major explosion in three years. Despite the history, the neighbors we met, like Robert Cochran, weren't too nervous about the situation.  "Well no, not really.  I do bounty hunting for a living you know, so I live kind of dangerous anyway."

Fahringer says it will take about three months for production to begin again.  But, he also adds this will not affect the 23 employees at Goex and they have some reserves on hand to keep distribution flowing..

State Police say no charges or citations will be issued.  But the investigation is continuing, trying to figure out exactly how the machine's malfunction caused the explosion.