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ATHENS-- Athens officials say 70 tons of ammonium nitrate were delivered to the fertilizer plant warehouse just before a giant fire broke out on Thursday.

It s not clear how much of it had been sold and what actually remained in the bins when the fire started at the facility at 105 West Larkin Street.

There was an estimated 20 to 30 tons of ammonium nitrate in the West facility when it exploded last year, killing 15 people. No one was injured in the Athens fire.

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During a press conference onFriday, the Athens fire chief told reporters that 47 residents spent the night in shelters after being evacuated when the fire broke out at the plant.

Officials have labeled the plant as a crime scene because they think it's suspicious that there was a 30-minute window between the last employee leaving the plant and the first reported call to authorities.

The five-block radius around the plant will be blocked off for the next six to eight hours. The evacuation order is still in place.

Officials with the fire department said two agencies spent the night and morning monitoring air quality. They said there was little to no toxicity in the air.

No injuries have been reported, but residents in Athens have been telling horror stories to News 8 crews on the scene.

They say they heard two loud explosions at the fertilizer plant, and claim that emergency crews told them initially to hide behind their apartment complex.

Moments later, they were forced to leave in a disorganized and unorderly way.

A friend of a terminally ill cancer patient says she was not allowed to go back inside her apartment for her medication.

Evacuees said residents had to leave without their animals and cell phones. Many of them say they had to spend the night hanging out in a local park until 10 p.m.

One resident says she didn't get answers on where to find a shelter until after repeatedly calling the Athens Police Department.

Another resident who refused to give her name or show her face says she fears retribution if she's critical of Athens' emergency response teams.

During the press conference onFriday, the mayor of Athens said the city did its best to ensure the safety of its residents, and is asking the public to remain patient.

He also said he is unsure whether the Athens Old Fiddlers Reunion planned for this weekend will still be held.

Meanwhile evacuees who spent the night at the shelter set up at the Cain Center say the folks there have been incredibly kind. They just wish they could take could take a bath and brush their teeth.

E-mail: sgables@wfaa.com

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