All-clear issued following fire at Axiall chemical plant
WESTLAKE, LA (KPLC) - The all-clear has been given following a fire Friday afternoon at the Axiall chemical plant in Westlake.
The Axiall Corporation, in a news release issued after 5 p.m., said the fire began at 1:40 p.m. "in the vinyl chloride manufacturing area" of the plant.
The fire was put out by 2:38 p.m. and Axiall said no plant personnel were injured. Smoke covered the area for an hour and at least 12 drivers were treated at a local hospital after complaining of respiratory problems.
"(Our) investigation into the cause of the fire is continuing, and we are coordinating with the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and other authorities," Axiall said.
A shelter-in-place, covering all of Westlake and parts of Sulphur and Moss Bluff, was issued a little after 2 p.m. but was lifted by 2:52 p.m. Interstate 10, U.S. 90 and Old Spanish Trail were closed during the incident and all roads were reopened by 2:55 p.m. Traffic remained heavy in the area until 5 p.m.
The shelter-in-place order included Western Heights Elementary, Westwood Elementary, S.P. Arnett Elementary, Westlake High School and Maplewood Middle. Students were released at about 3:15 p.m. and school officials said some buses would be late dropping off students.
DEQ Supervisor Scott Wilkinson said they did air monitoring during the fire and all resources indicated "non-detection." Wilkinson, who declined to comment on camera, said an official report could take weeks.
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