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Fire At Zinc Processing Plant Releases Sulfuric Acid Into Air, Prompts Evacuations

Updated: 3:18 p.m.

Residents near a burning zinc processing plant in Rutherford County were evacuated early Monday because the fire was spewing sulfuric acid in the air.

Sheriff's deputies went door-to-door all morning to warn people within a half-mile of the American Zinc Products plant in Mooresboro to evacuate their homes. The county issued an evacuation notice around 2 a.m.

A temporary shelter has was opened in a local high school gym about seven miles away from the plant. No word has been given on when the evacuation notice will end.

The fire started late Sunday night. Videos of the blaze posted on social media show dark plumes of smoke billowing into the air from an active blaze in a central part of the plant. The fire was extinguished around 7 a.m. Monday, but smoke continues to rise from the ashes.

American Zinc Products said in a later statement Monday that the fire has been contained. The company added that none of its employees were injured and all are accounted for.

Rutherford County Assistant Fire Marshal John Greenway said at one point, firefighters had been pulled away from the scene because their gear tested positive for hazardous materials.

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