OEP: Lightning might have caused oil tank fire
DENHAM SPRINGS - Emergency managers in Livingston Parish said lightning might have caused an oil storage tank to catch fire last night near Denham Springs.
Mark Harrell, director of the parish Office of Emergency Preparedness, said people living near the fire at Linder Road and Arnold Road told them lightning passed through before the fire started around 10:30 p.m Thursday.
One above-ground storage tank caught fire at that point, and a second tank on the property caught fire around 4:30 a.m. according to firefighters. Oil from the tanks also spilled into the berm surrouding them and caught fire, but Harrell said the berm was holding the burning oil in.
Authorities evacuated homes within a quarter-mile of the site, displacing about 30 families. Harrell said they were putting people in hotels if they didn't have anyone to stay with.
Firefighters said the flames are under control at this point. They plan to let the oil burn a bit longer before putting foam on it to extinguish that fire, then start misting the tanks to cool them down and extinguish any other fires. There's no estimate for how long that will take.
The Department of Environmental Quality arrived this morning to monitor air quality. Harrell said favorable winds are pushing the smoke away from any nearby homes.
Workers also shut off a pipeline connecting the storage tanks to other tanks in the area as a precaution.
News 2's Michael Shingleton will have more on the situation starting at noon.
IMAGE: Livingston Parish Fire
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