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Evacuations & Catastrophe

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An evacuation order was issued for thousands of central Texas residents and Texas A&M University campus was closed Thursday as a fire burned at a chemical plant and warehouse that processes explosive ammonium nitrate.   Black smoke settled over Bryan, a city of about 80,000 people about 100 miles north of Houston, after the fire started about noon at the nearby El Dorado Chemical Co., said fire dispatcher Andy Throne. The plant blends and packages fertilizer and other chemicals, including ammonium nitrate, a chemical used to make explosives.   The fire continued to smolder but was under control Thursday night and the evacuation order was lifted for a majority of the city, said Bryan Fire Chief Mike Donoho. A scaled-back order remained in effect for only a small area surrounding the warehouse.   Some people had not been allowed to return home by late Thursday, said Michele Meade, deputy emergency management coordinator for Brazos County. Meade

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