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An explosion at a biofuel plant in Anthony, New Mexico prompted the evacuation of over 1,000 people Tuesday.

Plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the damaged site.

Fires and several small explosions were reported about 9 a.m. at the Rio Valley Biofuels facility, according to a Dona Ana County news release.

The county said the facility handles large quantities of methanol, glycerin, sodium methylate and hydrochloric acid.

The chemicals are used in the process of turning vegetable oil, crude cottonseed, sunflower, soy, palm and canola into biodiesel fuel.

The plant produced between 3,000 and 6,000 gallons a day, according to a company website.

The American Red Cross set up a shelter at Gadsen High School after a hazardous-materials emergency was declared by the county.

Rio Valley operations manager Jed Smith said he believed the five employees who work at the plant were OK.

Firefighters were able to contain an area around the blaze and were letting the fire burn itself out.

Anthony is just north of the Texas border, between Las Cruces, N.M., and El Paso.