LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — A fire at a Louisiana chlorine plant erupted with thick, billowing smoke Thursday after Hurricane Laura plowed through part of the country’s petrochemical corridor with storm surges and fierce wind, forcing residents around the plant to shelter in their homes.
The damage came three years to the month after the record rains of Hurricane Harvey inundated Houston’s refineries, storage tanks and chemical plants, unleashing dozens of toxic spills into surrounding communities’ air, land and water. State and federal aircraft were heading into the air over the battered Louisiana coast Thursday, looking for signs of any other industrial damage or releases from Laura.
At Lake Charles, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality workers with hand-held monitors did not immediately detect chlorine releases from the fire at the BioLab plant, agency spokesman Greg Langley said. The plant makes swimming pool chemicals and handled 21,900 pounds of chlorine last year, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency records show.
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