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Authorities identify 14-year-old killed in Beauregard oil tank explosion

Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 8:59 PM CST
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RAGLEY, La. (KPLC) - Authorities have identified the 14-year-old girl killed in an oil tank explosion in Beauregard Parish Sunday evening.

Zalee Day, of Ragley, died in the explosion that happened just before 5 p.m. Sunday near Cordial Lane and South Cooley Road.

The site, owned by Urban Oil and Gas based out of Plano, TX, was inactive.

An e-mail sent to KPLC by Carolyn Alvey from Aardvark Communications on behalf of Urban Oil and Gas states:

“Urban Oil & Gas is deeply saddened by the event that happened in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana on the evening of February 28. Our condolences go out to the family of the young lady that lost her life. Multiple Louisiana state agencies are in the process of investigating what occurred at this site, an inactive well.”

The Louisiana Department of Natural Gas confirmed that highly flammable crude oil had been stored by the company for “a while.”

Louisiana State Police Trooper Derek Senegal says they have a better idea of what happened.

“Something was introduced to actually ignite the product inside the tank. They don’t know exactly what the cause or what the item was that caused the explosion, but they do know something that ignited that.”

An investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire and explosion.

Residents said they heard the explosion from miles away.

“The first thing I could see out of the front door of my house was a big cloud of boiling oil smoke and fire,” said Ragley resident Brenda Eddins. “I was in my house and I heard a big boom and a second boom, and then my house shook, and when my house shook, I was like, ‘What is that?’ Then I knew it was something big. Being that I’ve been from here my entire life, I felt that it was these oil tanks.”

Lindsay Havens, a friend of Day’s is still in disbelief over the tragedy.

“I went over there one time, and we made a TikTok. I still have it, but it hurts to know that she’s gone. I just want to say that she was really sweet and just one of my great friends. I can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it, but it happened.”

The fire was extinguished by 6:05 p.m.

The call was initially handled by Beauregard Parish Fire District 2, but multiple agencies responded, including firefighters from other agencies, the Louisiana Fire Marshal’s Office, the Louisiana State Police Hazmat Unit, and the Beauregard Parish Sheriff’s Office.

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