Baton Rouge, Louisiana
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Residents upset about 'late' plant fire warning

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GEISMAR - Authorities and emergency responders had been at the scene of a plant fire in Geismar for an hour before notifying residents in the area about what was going on, and that hour isn't sitting well with those who live near the plant.

The Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office did notify people who lived near the Renewable Energy Group plant about the situation at 7:31 p.m., more than an hour after it started according to REG. Spokesperson Allison Hudson said it takes time to determine if residents are in danger, and that the alert was sent out as soon as possible.

The alert told residents diesel fuel was burning at the plant, and the fumes didn't pose any risk to nearby neighborhoods. The alerts went out through text messages, automated phone messages, and television alerts. There is also a siren on Coco Road, a neighborhood near the plant.

Resident Dave Miller, who lives in that neighborhood, said it was too long before the alerts began.

"It did come over the phone but it was way afterwards, to me it was way late," he told News 2.

Despite the criticism, Hudson said the alert system is an effective method to keep people updated on potentially dangerous situations.

The fire injured two workers who are recovering at a Baton Rouge Burn Unit. The plant has been shut down for repairs and an investigation into the fire, which State Police said broke out when a seal broke in the plant.


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