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Fire at Dow burned for 33 hours after explosion

7 months 1 week 3 days ago Monday, July 17 2023 Jul 17, 2023 July 17, 2023 6:42 PM July 17, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

PLAQUEMINE - Dow told WBRZ Monday that the fire which caused people to shelter inside burned for nearly 33 hours and was finally extinguished Sunday morning.

Dow says the fire erupted in the Glycol unit and sent a plume of smoke and flames shooting high into the night sky.

Residents said sirens started wailing across the city, and that's when they knew to take action.

"All the people around here are elderly people," Plaquemine resident Peshu Richard said. "We have one young couple we were on the phone with. 'What do I do?' Go in the house turn off the A/C, and we will find out shortly."

The shelter-in-place order was lifted about six hours after the fire erupted. Richard said it appears that the situation was handled well this time.

"Most people around here know if the sirens go off and it's not the first Monday of the month, you have to take action," Richard said. "I think they did a good job."

Other residents who didn't want to go on camera expressed disgust following the repeated problems they have been subjected to.

Last April, a chlorine leak sent 23 people to the hospital after a compressor failed at the Olin facility housed on Dow's campus. Before that, there was another chlorine leak in 2016, sparking outrage at the time by Parish President Mitch Ourso.

"I told them if a gnat peed, I want to know about it," Ourso said in 2016.

There was also a tank rupture in another incident causing an emergency response.

Dow issued the following statement Monday:

Dow, in partnership with local officials and regulatory agencies, rapidly assessed the community impact from Friday night's incident. The precautionary half-mile shelter-in-place was issued south of the site. Shelter in place was issued by Iberville Office of Emergency Preparedness Friday night shortly after the incident happened. Dow, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and a third-party monitoring service continue to conduct air monitoring. Based on air monitoring data, the shelter-in-place was lifted early Saturday morning. This weekend's response was completed with zero injuries.

Assessment of the impacted area continues. The emergency and technical teams remain diligent in monitoring air quality. The rest of the site remains operational.

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