Lightning Strike Causes Fire at Louisiana Oil Tank farm that Prompted Evacuations

Residents and businesses near a tank fire that was started by lightning and sent a plume of smoke over Lake Charles, Louisiana, on Saturday were still being told to leave or stay put.

According to the Louisiana State Police, the single-tank fire at the Calcasieu Refining Co. tank farm in Lake Charles around 2:00 p.m. was caused by a lightning strike. This was found out in the evening.

The company processes crude oil, runs a pipeline, and has a place where oil goods can be moved by barge.

No one has been hurt, as far as we know. When phone calls were made to the plant, no one answered.

People as far away as 1.5 miles from the tank farm had to leave their homes. The Lake Charles Fire Department says that the outer edges of a “shelter-in-place” order have been cut from 5 miles to 3 miles.

State police said that as of 10 p.m., the fire was still going.

The head of the Calcasieu Parish Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Dick Gremillion, said that about 70 people who lived in assisted living facilities were among those who had to move. This was reported by the Lake Charles station of NBC, KPLC.

Gremillion told the station that people who have to leave have a place to stay at the Burton Coliseum.

The National Weather Service said on Saturday that there was lightning all over the area as a front of unstable air moved east and caused severe thunderstorms, hail, and the fear of flash flooding.

The fire department said earlier that the fire was a “crude oil tank fire.”

The director of the port, Ricky Self, told KPLC that there was another fire on the grounds on Thursday. The fire may have started in a place where motor oil for company cars was kept. It wasn’t clear whether the fires were connected or not.

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