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Chemical plant leak stopped, shelter in place lifted

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PORT ALLEN - The state Department of Environmental Quality said a leak at a chemical plant in West Baton Rouge has been stopped by emergency crews, and a recommendation for people in downtown Baton Rouge to shelter in place was lifted.

The leak at ITC on River Road in West Baton Rouge Parish happened after lightning hit a container, releasing a combustible chemical called butadiene. Crews sprayed the tower with water to contain the leak, but said wind was a concern.

Emergency officials closed the airspace around the plant because they said the chemical was combustible. DEQ sent out two air quality monitors to check conditions at the site, and also said monitors at the state Capitol building were clear.

Officials initially closed LA 1 and North River Road from Lafiton Lane to U. S. 190, but reopened both roadways by the end of the day. 

The facility is owned by ExxonMobil and operated by ITC. A spokesperson for ExxonMobil said as soon as the leak was detected they activated their emergency response plans.

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