IBERVILLE PARISH, La. — The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and Olin Corp. were monitoring the air Tuesday morning at and around a plant where a fire and leak sent a huge cloud of chlorine out of a chemical plant near Baton Rouge.
No injuries have been reported, said a statement emailed to The Associated Press on Tuesday for Olin Corp.
“Monitoring indicates there is currently no risk of offsite exposure; however, we will continue to monitor the entire area out of an abundance of caution,” the company said.
State regulators said a compressor caught fire and leaked liquid chlorine, The Advocate reported.
Olin would not comment on whether a compressor caught fire. “Once all work is safely completed, we will conduct a thorough analysis to identify the cause of the event,” its statement said.
Inspectors hadn't detected chlorine in the community since 6:15 a.m. Tuesday, department press secretary Greg Langley told the newspaper.
Residents in the Plaquemine area were ordered to shelter in place Monday night but got the “all clear” early Tuesday, news outlets reported. Residents had been told to stay inside, turn off air conditioners, and close their windows and doors.
Authorities said the fire and leak were in an Olin Chlor Alkali plant inside the larger Dow Chemical Co. complex. Olin officials said nobody was hurt, the newspaper reported.
Liquid chlorine leaked out and pooled on the ground, where it quickly turned into a gas, Department of Environmental Quality officials said. Chlorine’s boiling point is -29 degrees Fahrenheit -29
Langley said Tuesday that residual releases continued Tuesday from liquid chlorine still pooled on the ground, leading to residual fence line detections of low concentrations of chlorine.