UPDATE – All Clear Issued at 10pm.
An anhydrous ammonia leak at the ice plant on Amulet Street in Natchitoches caused authorities to evacuate a four-block area surrounding the plant. Residents were initially evacuated to the Natchitoches Police Department’s parking lot and several other areas. The Natchitoches Fire Department, who arrived on the scene within moments of receiving the call, began knocking on doors to evacuate residents, using their vehicles for those with mobility impairments. Hazmat arrived on the scene at approximately 8 p.m., consisting of the NFD’s Hazmat unit and the State Police Hazmat unit.
NPJ photographer Kevin Shannahan spoke with Brandon McKnight of NFD Engine 1 and Assistant Chief Alan Stanfield. The Hazmat teams used an emergency response handbook to determine the size and nature of the evacuation area. As of 9:30 p.m. an “all clear” hasn’t been issued, but the NPJ will publish information as it becomes available.