UPDATE: Explosion at International Paper Caused by "Manufacturing Failure"

CANTONMENT, FL (WKRG/CW55) -- The plant explosion that covered much of Cantonment in black soot on Sunday night was caused by a "manufacturing process failure."

International Paper released a statement to residents on Monday morning to explain what caused the messy explosion and layer of grime to cover the surrounding area.

"We experienced a manufacturing process failure that released a mixture of wood fiber, water and pulping liquor into the surrounding area. If you or your pets have had contact with the materials, please wash the affected area for 15 minutes with soap and water. If you are experiencing skin irritation or respiratory issues, please see your doctor. Avoid contact with your eyes and mouth.For those nearby the facility, we are working with response agencies from the county and state and will have additional information as it becomes available.If the materials have come into contact with your vehicle, please thoroughly wash your vehicle and avoid contact with the material."

No one was injured in the explosion, but neighbors near the plant have spent much of the night and morning cleaning up the black liquor.  Images and video from the area shows the slimy black substance covering lawns, cars and streets.

News 5 has investigated International Papers history and found several environmental violations with the EPA.

  • 2 quarter(s) of Clean Air Act violations - resulting in 1 enforcement action and $3,500 in fines
  • 8 quarter(s) of Clean Water Act violations
  • 2 quarter(s) of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act violations

Additionally, News 5 has uncovered that the last inspection of International Paper's facility in Cantonment was 326 days ago.

The explosion occurred Sunday night around 7:30pm at the plant on 375 Musogee Road. No active fire was reported and all employees were accounted for.

Mobile County

Baldwin County

Northwest Florida