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Worker killed in ammo plant blast

A series of explosions tore through a Tennessee ammunition plant, killing one worker and injuring a firefighter while shells went off for about an hour afterwards.

Ed Gaugh, county emergency management director, said a 34-year-old man died in the blast and subsequent fire at the Kinematics Research plant in Oakland, which makes shells for pistols and rifles.

Oakland police chief Rick Jewell said at one point a large front door of the building blew off and a white fireball came out.

"It was scary; we just got out of the way," he said. "It was a pretty horrific explosion. Rounds were going off for one solid hour. It sounded like continuous machine gun fire."

The building was left standing but was gutted and riddled with bullet holes.

Mr Jewell said the plant housed several thousand rounds and gunpowder. Witnesses said debris shot into the air during several explosions spanning half an hour.

Fire crews could not get close to the building because of the danger. One firefighter was injured, apparently hit by a bullet or fragment.

Cliff Davidson, owner of AAA Collision next door, said he heard a boom and went outside.

"Not long after that, there was a rat-a-tat-tat and a pop pop pop pop," he said.

The fire was brought under control about 90 minutes after the first blast was reported at around 1.45pm local time on Wednesday. The cause is not yet known.

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