A day after the Umatilla Chemical Depot incinerated the first decades-old rocket loaded with deadly sarin nerve agent, those living around the facility expressed a mixture of support and concern.

And some weren't aware that the process had begun.

"It doesn't worry us," said Jan Tompkins on Thursday, a retiree from Hermiston. "They'll do a good job."

Adam Cline of Umatilla, who lives a mile from the fence surrounding the depot, isn't sure it's worth the risk.

"If something goes wrong I'll be the first one dead," he said.

Cline plans to join up with the Coast Guard in January and leave the area.

Workers dismantled and destroyed the first rocket on Wednesday, causing some anxiety after a hatch leading to the 12,000-degree furnace failed to open.

On Thursday depot officials reported that two more rockets were destroyed without any problems. Eight more are slated for demolition through the weekend.

The draining, chopping and processing of the rockets Thursday was finished in about 20 minutes, said Rick Kelley, spokesman for Washington Group International, the contractor responsible for the incineration plant. The plant is permitted to destroy 40 rockets per hour but officials are gearing up slowly.

When Victoria Creek lived in Tooele, Utah, the nearby Deseret Chemical Depot began destroying its share of the United State's chemical weapons stockpile. The stay-at-home mom and student from Hermiston wasn't aware that Wednesday was the starting date for the Umatilla Chemical Depot, but said she's been through this before and isn't worried.

"I'm not really concerned, I'm sure they have it under control," she said. "There's many more things we should be concerned about."

Jason Beyers, an agricultural worker from Umatilla, doesn't share Creek's relaxed attitude. He keeps an emergency kit in his home's bathroom just in case. But he's skeptical there would be enough time to seal off windows with duct tape if an accident sent the nerve agent into the air.

"How do they expect you to put plastic around your windows? There wouldn't be enough time," he said.

Brent Alexander of Hermiston, a fruit grower who runs the Last Chance Fruit Stand on U.S. Highway 730 in Irrigon, said it was "about time."

"I live across from it and I want it out of my backyard," he said. "My mom works there driving trucks. She wouldn't be working out there if it wasn't safe."

Shaunna Harley, a health care professional from Echo, said she was "very disappointed" to hear about the malfunction on Wednesday, which officials say happened because a stop button was accidentally bumped by a worker.

"They need to get it together," Harley said. "I'm not confident they can do it right."

Brian Gering, pastor of the Family Worship Center in Irrigon, was glad to see the process had started in earnest.

"It's safer to dispose of them than to let them sit," he said. "Get it done, get those things out of here."

Ida Nassar wasn't even aware that the depot was in the process of destroying the weapons. She recently moved back to Hermiston from Washington state with her husband and children.

"Do it somewhere far away from the community," she said "There's lots of families, children and schools here. Do it somewhere else."

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