People near Eastman waited nearly 2 hours after explosions for safety notices

Laurie Martin, right, talks about her experience hearing the explosions at Eastman.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Many people who live near the Eastman plant in Kingsport are concerned about the response time in sending safety notifications.

Laurie Martin lives right across from the plant. She was on the back porch with her young grandson when the explosions happened.

"So I picked him up and started inside, and about that time you could just hear a huge explosion," Martin said. "It shook the house."

She came back outside to see what had happened.

"I just saw the black smoke and then the other smoke," Martin said. "You could hear the sirens going off over at Eastman."

Eastman said in a statement the explosion took place around 10:40 am, but people in neighborhoods near the plant said they didn't receive reverse 911 calls until around 12:30.

"So during those two hours, [I] had no idea if we were breathing toxic, if we needed to evacuate," Martin said.

"For the people in closer vicinity, like within a mile or two, I think they should have been called just in case it could've been something worse," Beth Morgan, whose family lives near the plant, said.

Many people rely on cell phones for communication, but the safety notices are primarily sent on land lines. The Kingsport Police Department said that you have to opt in for cell phone alerts by registering on the Kingsport Dispatch website.

Martin said however Eastman or officials choose to send notifications, they need to be sent faster in future.

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