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Docs: La. Firm Overstated Storage For Explosives

Stephen D. Abney, spokesman for the Army's Joint Munitions Command, said the plan was for Explo to resell the material, not store it. Asked if Explo Systems misled the Army and could face charges, Abney said only that an investigation was ongoing.

"I don't think anybody dreamed of them storing that much," Abney said.

Company officials have not responded to numerous telephone calls seeking comment.

However, a Kentucky businessman with ties to the company said Explo mistakenly overstated its storage capacity by more than 60 million pounds.

Explo Systems took apart propellant charges â¿¿ used to fire artillery rounds â¿¿ and sold a chemical called M6 to companies that could use it for coal mine blasting, according to documents the company provided to the Army. It also sold other parts of the recycled propellant charges.

The arrangement meant the company could make money from the Army and buyers of the recycled components.

The Army gave Explo a $2.9 million annual contract in March 2010 to dismantle up to 450,000 propelling charges a year with options for renewal for four years. It's not clear exactly how much of the explosive material the company was able to sell.

Each charge contains 20.6 pounds of M6, according to Explo Systems' plan, meaning the company could take in nearly 9.3 million pounds each year under the contract.

At some point, the company ran out of storage room in Louisiana and in early 2012 asked to lease more space at the base, the Guard said. The company was turned down because it was about $400,000 behind on rent.

A state trooper following up on the October explosion discovered the improperly stored material, and the company informed the Army on Nov. 27 that Louisiana authorities wouldn't allow it to accept more explosives pending an ongoing investigation.

Doyline was evacuated because of concerns that any ignition â¿¿ such as a lightning strike or a brush fire â¿¿ could set off a massive chain-reaction blast.

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