(SD)-Fire Destroys Box Elder Ammo Plant
BOX ELDER, S.D. (AP) - A fire has destroyed the Ultramax Ammunition company complex in Box Elder, forcing the evacuation of an area that included truck stop and other businesses but resulting in no injuries.
Rapid City Fire Department spokesman Lt. Jim Bussell says more than 2-million rounds of ammunition was stored at the site, leading to a decision to let the fire burn and move firefighters to a safe distance nearly a half-mile away.
The fire was reported about 10:40 Tuesday morning with the plant itself quickly evacuated and nearby businesses closed and eventually evacuated as well. Roads in the area were closed, but most had reopened by 3:00.
Lt Bussell says experts from nearby Ellsworth Air Force Base provided technical advice on dealing with the possibility of the ammunition exploding.
. Authorities don't know what caused the fire, but the investigation will be headed by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives because the plant is an ATF-licensed facility.
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