Clean up crews take over at site of NC plant blast

By the Associated Press | May 29, 2011 | 1:59 PM EDT

HUDSON, N.C. (AP) — Clean up crews have begun removing debris from a massive chemical plant explosion and fire in North Carolina as investigators start looking into what caused the blaze.

Caldwell County emergency spokeswoman Jessica Carter said Sunday the fire was completely out at the Chemical Coatings Inc. plant in Hudson.

Evacuees were allowed to return to their homes about six hours after the explosion Saturday afternoon. Carter says federal environmental officials are taking air, water and soil samples to ensure the area is still safe.

Authorities say the plant was closed for the weekend, and no one was killed or injured in the blast.

Chemical Coatings makes dyes, lacquers and other coatings for furniture and other products.