Jared Drive still closed, EPA visits Eastman following explosions

KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL) – A section of Jared Drive in Kingsport remains closed tonight at Eastman Chemical Company’s request, after a pair of explosions shook the company Wednesday.

An Eastman spokesperson said the company continues to work with an excess of caution and a portion of the road is still closed as “a safety precaution for the public.”

Our crew spotted two cranes near the road today. The most recent traffic count on Jared Drive showed almost 8,000 average daily trips in 2015, according to a Kingsport spokesperson.

An Eastman spokesperson said the company is assessing the road daily and will update the public when Jared Drive is reopened “in the coming days.”

An Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson said, as part of its normal protocol, the federal agency sent in an on-scene coordinator and Superfund Technical Assessment Response Team from Atlanta to help state and local responders. Before demobilizing Thursday, the EPA spokesperson said its on-scene coordinator provided technical assistance and reviewed air monitoring data.

As we reported Friday, Eastman said in a federal incident report an equipment failure in the coal gasification area led to the release of a small amount of Hydrogen Sulfide that never left the plant and posed no risk to the public or environment, according to Eastman.

Our camera captured a large explosion at Eastman Wednesday, which followed a smaller explosion. An Eastman spokesperson confirmed today it was the first explosion that resulted in the release of Hydrogen Sulfide.

Eastman estimated the disruption will cost the company between $50 and $100 million in operating earnings.

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