Police say dozens hurt in sugar refinery explosion

SAVANNAH - Dozens of people were injured in an explosion at a sugar refinery that was felt by residents throughout the Savannah suburb of Port Wentworth, authorities said.

No deaths were reported immediately at the Imperial Sugar plant, formerly Dixie Crystals, a longtime Savannah landmark.

'We have an unconfirmed number of injuries, well over 50 to 100 at this point,' said Sgt. Mike Wilson, spokesman for the Savannah-Chatham County police. He said the explosion happened at about 7 p.m.

There was no immediate word on what caused it.

Imperial Sugar, based in Sugar Land, Texas, acquired Savannah Foods & Industries, which produced Dixie Crystals, in 1997. The acquisition doubled the size of the company, making it the largest processor and refiner of sugar in the country, according to the company Web site.

Imperial markets some of the country's leading consumer brands, Imperial, Dixie Crystals and Holly, as well as supplying sugar and sweetener products to industrial food manufacturers.