There was a fire in the early hours of the morning at Winchester’s East Alton, Illinois ammunition plant. Fortunately, it seems that only a maintenance shed was destroyed and the fire did not spread to other areas of the plant.
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
An early-morning blaze and propane explosion at an ammunitions factory in East Alton was contained to a maintenance shed and caused no injuries, according to police.
A motorist spotted fire in a maintenance shop at the Winchester Ammunition plant, which is a division of Olin Corp., and called 911 about 3:15 a.m., according to East Alton Fire Chief Randy Nelson.
Reports vary as to when the fire was first spotted but it was finally extinguished around 7:30 this morning. The blaze caused propane cylinders to explode and steam lines to rupture from the intense heat.
More on the fire from St. Louis station KMOV:
You can see the morning after pictures in this report from Fox 2 St. Louis:
Winchester has been in the process of moving its center-fire ammunition production from the East Alton plant to its much newer plant in Oxford, Mississippi. Winchester started this move in mid-2010. Rimfire ammunition was moved to Oxford earlier.
Olin Corporation, the parent of Winchester, has not made any official statement on the fire that I can see on their website. Given that it happened on a Sunday morning, this is not too surprising.