Officials confirm air is safe after massive chemical fire

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DUSON-RAYNE, La. (KLFY) – People are back in their homes this evening after being forced to evacuate 24-hours ago.
As the FlowChem Chemical Plant caught fire Thursday, causing a concern for the air quality in the area.

Done video from our coverage partners at The Daily Advertiser shows the burned out area at the chemical facility in Duson. 
Explosions engulfed the building in flames Thursday afternoon. 

“If you look at that tan building over there, it’s right on the side of there, and I think we’re point 7 miles from the chemical plant,” said Karen Racca, a Mire resident. 

What caused the blaze is still under investigation, but the chemical xylene, was among those contributing to the fire and multiple explosions.

Racca recalls what happened on Thursday before she evacuated her home, which makes her a little hesitant.

“Just as if you were to over spray something and if it got in your mouth.
And our eyes were starting to burn when we were out here. So I came home this morning, but still kind of worried about what was in the air and around our house, because we’re so close to the chemical plant,” said Racca. 

But the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality says there are no concerns of the chemicals being in the air.

“There’s not, no. We (DEQ) performed community air monitoring from the beginning of the incident, all the way through this morning when we did some home re-entries, and there’ s been non-detect on air monitoring the entire time in the community. Non-detect means no detects of any contaminants,” said Kevin Borne, a DEQ Emergency Response Supervisor. 

Vacuum trucks were seen sucking up water leftover from firefighting efforts. They want to make sure chemicals in the water will not spread into streams and lakes.  

“Right now our main focus is picking up with vacuum trucks, all of the fire water that has contaminated the ditches,” said Borne.

Racca says she’s not only worried about her family, but the health of her crops on their 150 acre land. She just wants to make sure officials are as concerned.

“My concerns are just to make sure that the chemicals are actually gone, and that we’re not breathing all this stuff in, so it would be nice if they would come and test it out here,” said Racca.

If you do have any concerns, LDEQ has a 24 hour complaint line. That number is 225-219-3640.
 

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