LISTEN NOW: Eastman’s 911 call released; company says it expects steam vents and noise when some operations resume | News


KINGSPORT — Eastman Chemical Co. said Friday it will begin restarting some operations not affected by the Jan. 31 shutdown following a steam line rupture, and some restarting processes may be visible over the next few days.

At the same time, the town of Kingsport released a new audio clip that came from Eastman on Monday when the breakup happened.

In a press release, the company said there would be a planned steam vent at its site.

“Steam ventilation and vapor clouds are an integral part of the steam power used to power our operations,” the statement said. “These processes may be audible to the surrounding community, but there is no need to worry as this is a normal part of the restart process.”

Eastman suffered what he called a “steam line failure” around 7:30 a.m. Monday. The rupture caused a loud boom, vibrations throughout the area, and a large plume that shot up into the air, spraying debris in neighborhoods near the plant.

The company then said on Monday that asbestos had been found in the rubble. Eastman then dispatched cleaners throughout the week in hazmat suits to pick up debris and wash cars and homes.

Several state agencies said they were monitoring the situation and awaiting reports from Eastman on what happened at the plant and whether there were any residual effects.

In the press release, the company did not specify how long the reboot process would take.

The company also warned that some flaring could be visible, but that’s also part of normal operations.

“There is no need to worry,” the statement read.

The city released a new 911 call from the Eastman Fire Department to the city’s fire dispatch department on Friday. The call was inadvertently forwarded to an administrative line.

The call begins with someone requesting a response from the Kingsport Fire Department.

“Can you send me a reply to building 86, please?” asked the caller.

“Building 86?” Was there an explosion? asked the dispatcher.

“Yes,” replied the caller.

“What exploded? asked the dispatcher.

“Not sure yet,” the caller replied.

The dispatcher asked what was needed.

“At the moment just an engine and a captain,” the caller replied.

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