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Evacuation, road closure in WBR continues

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Posted: May 22, 2012 4:18 PM by Russell Jones
Updated: May 22, 2012 5:40 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: Crews, cylinders, chemical, fire, facility, air liquide, port allen, west baton rouge, hazmat, evacuation, closed

PORT ALLEN - An evacuation and road closure in West Baton Rouge Parish after a chemical fire will continue into Wednesday, according to authorities.

The Louisiana State Police said a fire that started yesterday morning at the storage facility was mostly out, with a few "hot spots" still burning. Crews removed most of the undamaged cylinders today, and dropped water on damaged containers to prevent any further explosions.

"This is a long tedious process because not only are we dealing with heat but the rest of the gear emergency services people have to wear in order to enter this site," said Trooper Stephen Hammons. "Heat exhaustion is one of those things that we are concerned with."

The fire Monday injured one worker and forced 250 people to evacuate from nearby homes. The evacuation order remained in effect Tuesday, and La. 190 remained closed in both directions around the facility.

Troopers said it's not clear when families will be allowed back in their homes, or the road will be reopened. Part of the reason the roadway remains closed is because if the cylinders explode while being moved, they could become projectiles and endanger passing vehicles.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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