Numerous sources are reporting that at least one person was severely injured in an explosion late Monday morning in Shelbyville.
Local police evacuated an area within one-half mile of a bio-diesel tank which exploded and burned at the Southern Energy facility on Lane Parkway. News reports indicate that one victim has been transported to Vanderbilt via Life-Flight after the explosion which occurred at about 10:30.
Bedford County Sherriff Randall Boyce told media outlets that 69 inmates had been moved out of the County Workhouse and that students at Thomas Magnet School were evacuated and taken by bus to Harris Middle School as a precautionary measure. Other businesses in the area were also evacuated, including the City Courthouse and the County Animal Control building.
The explosion created a black plume of smoke that rose, according to some reports, as high as forty feet in the air. Two other people are reported to be injured. Power and traffic signals in the area have been disrupted.
Authorities in Bedford County continue to investigate the explosion and subsequent fire in Shelbyville Monday morning. One man, apparently the driver of a tanker truck that was unloading a solvent, was transported to Vanderbilt Medical Center by Life-Flight with serious burns over fifty percent of his body. The victim has not yet been identified. Despite chaotic reports from the scene Monday, no other injuries were reported.
Local officials had evacuated the area within one-half mile of the explosion at the Southern Energy facility on Lane Parkway. Businesses, schools, and government offices in the area reopened Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning. Traffic control and electric service to the area, except in the immediate vicinity of the explosion, have been restored.
Gates along a Duck River tributary had been closed to prevent chemicals and water, used to extinguish the flames, from entering the watershed. Personnel from neighboring Rutherford County assisted in the evacuation and later re-housing of animals at the Bedford County Animal Control building.