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Texas Town Evacuated After Blasts

February 19, 1998

NATALIA, Texas (AP) _ A series of blasts and a fire at a manufacturing plant, visible for tens of miles, forced the evacuation of most of this south Texas town Thursday.

The ``whole town″ 30 miles south of San Antonio was asked to evacuate fumes from the burning National Foam Co., according to George Snell, director of disaster services for San Antonio’s American Red Cross chapter and a Department of Public Safety trooper.

There were no serious injuries from the blast, sheriff’s spokeswoman Missy Rodriguez said.

But Natalia’s 1,400 residents were being directed to the community center in nearby Devine.

About three-quarters of the residents had left the town, said Natalia Mayor Ruby Vera. Smoke from the blaze was visible in San Antonio.

Up to three dozen workers inside National Foam, a plant that manufactures carpet padding, managed to escape before the fire.

Update hourly