Chemical Fire Erupts in Louisiana After Hurricane Laura Hits

August 27, 2020 Updated: August 27, 2020

A fire broke out on Thursday at a chemical facility near Lake Charles, Louisiana, in the aftermath of Hurricane Laura’s landfall earlier in the morning.

Gov. John Bel Edwards told people to stay away from the area following reports of the blaze.

“There is a chemical fire in the Westlake/Moss Bluff/Sulphur area,” he wrote on Twitter. “Residents are advised to shelter in place until further notice and close your doors and windows.”

Images and video footage shows the fire, smoke, and an apparent chemical leak at the plant.

Edwards wrote, “If you are in the Westlake/Moss Bluff/Sulphur area, shelter in place, close your windows and doors and TURN OFF YOUR AIR CONDITIONING UNITS. There is a chemical fire. Stay inside and wait for additional direction from local officials.”

It’s not clear what chemical plant is on fire or what caused the fire.

Hurricane Laura hit the region early on Thursday as a Category 4 storm with 150 mph winds and excessive storm surge. Evacuation orders were issued across the northwestern Gulf coast.

The hurricane’s first reported U.S. fatality was a 14-year-old girl in Leesville, Louisiana, who died when a tree fell on her house, a spokeswoman for Governor John Bel Edwards said.

“We do expect that there could be more fatalities,” the spokeswoman, Christina Stephens, said on Twitter.

The NHC warned that high water levels would persist along the Gulf Coast for several hours as Laura moved north and then northeast.

Reuters contributed to this report.