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Controlled burn scheduled for this evening, some evacuations required

POSTED: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 5:34pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, August 22, 2012 - 11:29pm

UPDATE: Evacuations have taken place for those living nearest the accident on I-10 on Wednesday. People living in 40 homes in the Essen Heights area had to find a new place to sleep Wednesday. There is a shelter set up at the BREC facility located on the 2800 block of Nairn Drive. The evacuations are necessary because authorities overnight did a controlled burn to try and clear the area of the flammable liquid isobutane. The process caused two loud bangs. Authorities say their number one priority is to keep you safe.

"We're doing everything we can in a safe manner to our number one priority is public safety and that will be the reason we do that all the way through," Col. Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police, said.

Authorities did not say when they were planning on reopening streets that were blocked off on Wednesday.


UPDATE: The Red Cross has opened a shelter for evacuated residents at the Nairn Park gymnasium, 2800 Nairn Dr., which is between College Drive and Acadian Thruway at Interstate 10. This is one of BREC's facilities.

Here's what the Red Cross wants to make sure residents know in terms of preparation.

If authorities ask you to evacuate, remember to bring essential items for each family member:
• Prescriptions and emergency medications.
• Foods that meet special dietary requirements.
• Important personal documents.
• Extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies and other comfort items.
• Supplies needed for children and infants, such as diapers, formula and toys.
• Special items for family members who are elderly or disabled.

If authorities issue a shelter-in-place order, you should:
• Close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
• If you are told there is danger of explosion, close the window shades, blinds or curtains.
• Turn off all fans and air conditioning systems.
• Bring your pets with you, and make sure to have food and water supplies for them.
• Keep listening to your radio or television or digital media until you are told all is safe or you need to take other action.

ORIGINAL: Before officials can reopen the Interstate, several people living near the crash will have to evacuate from the area. That's expected to happen some time after 10:00 p.m. tonight.

Officials just held a press conference making the announcement. The Mayor and several top emergency officials spoke for about a half hour regarding the continued efforts to contain and clean the spill site on I-10.

Mayor Holden said the immediate area surrounding Essen would be evacuated because they’re going to burn off some of the gas. Police officers will go door to door to tell people whether or not they need to leave their home.

The controlled burn should only take around 30 minutes to complete, but no one could comment as to how long the evacuation would last. Red Cross volunteers are prepared to open a shelter, if needed once the city/parish makes a decision about evacuations.

They also could not comment on whether or not the Interstate will be reopened tonight.

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