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People wait out chemical fire at evacuation centers

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Posted: May 21, 2012 5:14 PM by Russell Jones, Sarah Rosario
Updated: May 21, 2012 5:14 PM
Source: WBRZ

  Rating: 5.0 (2 votes)

Topics: chemical, fire, air, liquide, plant, evacuation, community, center

PORT ALLEN - Almost 200 people in West Baton Rouge Parish spent the afternoon in evacuation shelters after a fire at a storage facility forced them from their homes.

"It sounded like fireworks explosives going boom, boom," said Alyssia Springer, who was evacuated to the Erwinville Community Center.

The Red Cross opened two shelters at community centers in Port Allen and Erwinville for people who had to leave the area around the Air Liquide storage facility, which caught fire this morning.

"I hurried up and grabbed my kids because my daughter has asthma, and I knew she couldn't inhale all that smoke," said April Beasley, who lives near the plant and was evacuated as well.

The fire at the Air Liquide plant injured one person, and ignited a number of acetylene tanks on the grounds. Authorities closed roads around the plant, and evacuated 40 homes within a mile radius.

Nancy Malone, a spokesperson for the Red Cross, said they had 175 people in the shelters this afternoon. She said they expected more people after school let out, and could remain open overnight if the evacuation continues and people need a place to stay.

Highway 190 remains closed in both directions around the Air Liquide facility.

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