Chlorine plant fire has residents sheltering after hurricane

The plant manufactures swimming pool chemicals. Residents told to stay inside with doors and windows shut.


National News

August 27, 2020 - 3:30 PM

Capitol One Bank Tower is seen with its windows blown out in the downtown area after Hurricane Laura passed through on Thursday, August 27, 2020 in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Photo by (Joe Raedle/Getty Images/TNS)

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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