Toxic chlorine plant fire adds to Louisiana’s Hurricane Laura woes

A chlorine production plant is on fire in southwestern Louisiana, spewing a thick toxic cloud into the air just hours after Hurricane Laura passed through the area.

Residents of three towns were ordered to shelter in place until further notice — and to keep their doors and windows closed and air conditioners turned off, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on Twitter.

“TURN OFF YOUR AIR CONDITIONING UNITS,” the tweet instructed in all caps.

The Bio Lab Inc complex produces chlorine for swimming pools, reported

It’s not clear how — or whether — the fire is related to damage from the hurricane.

The plant is off of Interstate 10, a section of which has been closed, further hampering the efforts of first responders and environmental officials.

“We’ve been scrambling,” state Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Greg Langley told

The fire is burning an hour south of where Laura claimed her first fatality — a 14-year-old girl who died when high winds toppled a tree onto her home in Leesville.

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