POSTED: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 7:50pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, September 24, 2013 - 5:36pm
SLAUGHTER, LA (NBC33) — There was a huge explosion and fire around in the Slaughter area at the Monolyte Laboratory. Nearby residents were evacuated as a precaution. Slaughter firefighters got the blaze under control within a few hours.
People who live nearby tell NBC33 they were "scared" by this morning's rude awakening.
"I heard something going off - I didn't know if it was a gun going off someone shooting or if it was something exploding," says Erin Gaulden.
"About 1 in the morning we heard a big boom, I thought it was something across the street," says Paul Stout.
Erin and Paul live just feet away from the Monolyte Laboratory that was destroyed by fire early Monday morning.
"I was shocked, it was like 75 feet in the air, and it was pretty engulfed."
Only minutes after the fire started all of the surrounding homes were evacuated.
"I thought it was going to set our trees on fire and set a chain reaction and come down the rest of us," said Gaulden.
The lab that caught fire housed water treatment compounds and residents were worried that the fumes would be toxic.
"Some days it would be real strong the wind would blow it, they said it was non-hazardous and safe, but must not have been too safe because it blew up," noted Stout.
Officials say all the compounds in the lab were environmentally friendly and not hazardous. So all homeowners could do was wait and worry.
"We just bought this house so we had all the paperwork on the house," said Gaulden.
After only two hours, surrounding residents were let back into their homes, in one piece. All that’s left of the Monolyte Laboratory is debris and puddles of chemicals and foam.
Twenty-five people work at the lab. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality says there's nothing to be worried about environmentally, but they're going to continue to monitor air quality nearby