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Fire breaks out at Louisiana chemical plant in wake of Hurricane Laura

Residents in area told to shelter in place
Posted at 9:50 AM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 17:31:01-04

WESTLAKE, La. -- A fire broke out at a chemical plant in Westlake, Louisiana, as Hurricane Laura moved out of the state.

Louisiana State Police responded to the scene Thursday and motorists were being advised not to travel on I-10 through Westlake as crews fought to put out the flames.

State police say the fire involved a chlorine leak that originated from a BioLab chemical manufacturing facility.

The BioLab plant was built in 1979 and manufactures trichloroisocyanuric acid, chlorinating granules and other chemicals used in such household cleaners as Comet bleach scrub and pool chlorine powder, The Associated Press reports. Trichloroisocyanuric acid and chlorine are potentially acutely toxic to people and animals if ingested or inhaled.

As a result of the fire, residents in the Westlake, Moss Bluff and Sulphur area were advised to shelter in place until further notice, close their doors and windows, and turn off their air conditioning units.

In a statement obtained by KATC, KIK Custom Products said the fire at their facility was the result of damage from the hurricane and a specialized team has been deployed to mitigate the impact of the incident.

“KIK Custom Products confirmed that, as a result of damage sustained during Hurricane Laura, there is currently a fire at one plant located at the company's Biolab Lake Charles, LA facility. Our priority is the safety and well-being of the Lake Charles community of which we are a part. We are deploying a specialized team to the site, and we are working with first responders, local authorities, and environmental agencies to contain and mitigate the impact of this incident as quickly as possible. The facility had been evacuated when the hurricane was upgraded to category 4 after following shut-down protocols, and all employees are confirmed to be safe at this time. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”

This story was originally published by staff at KATC.