State Police Investigate Haz-Mat Explosion

The following is a news release from the Louisiana State Police:

Iberia Parish- Personnel from Williams Firefighting and Haz-Mat Control arrived Wednesday morning in New Iberia.  Utilizing State Police Air Support, workers flew over the site to determine the best way to safely approach the fire to extinguish it.  

Currently they are working to put the plan into action and should implement the plan Wednesday afternoon. The evacuation area remains the same, and it will remain in place until it is safe for the public to return.  

On Tuesday, at 3:50 p.m., Louisiana State Police Haz-Mat, the Iberia Parish Sheriff's Office, the Iberia Parish Fire Department, Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and Lafayette Fire Department Haz-Mat personnel responded to an explosion at Doyle Drive in New Iberia, LA, the business of Multi-Chem.

The explosion resulted in a large fire that fully engulfed the business.  The fire at the business is still burning, but has greatly reduced in size from the initial explosion.  For safety reasons, crews are allowing the fire to burn until it is safe for firefighters to approach the area.  State Police Air Support was able to fly over the area giving Haz-Mat personnel the opportunity to assess the situation.

Currently emergency service crews have a one-mile radius area evacuated.  The evacuated area includes two other local businesses, the University of Louisiana New Iberia Research Center (NIRC), and the New Iberia Airport.  The airport is currently closed and the NIRC remains evacuated.

The area is expected to remain evacuated through the night.  Roadways within the evacuation area will remain closed until it safe for the public to return.

There were no injuries reported from this explosion, and all employees of Multi-Chem and surrounding businesses have been accounted for.

The cause for the explosion is still under investigation.