and Stacy Gill
Twisted metal remains after an early morning explosion demolished Monolyte Labs in Slaughter early Monday.
Several people in the vicinity were evacuated after waking to an explosion at Monolyte Labs in Slaughter early Monday.
Monolyte describes itself as “a specialty chemical technology development and commercialization firm” on its website.
The plant makes polymer to separate solids from liquids in the waste water treatment process. It caught fire abour 2 a.m. and continued to explode before first responders were on the scene, said authorities.
It took about two hours and 40 firefighters from Slaughter Volunteer Fire Department, Zachary and Baton Rouge to extinguish the massive blaze which completely destroyed the plant.
SVFD Fire Chief David Hughes, also a Zachary firefighter, said flames were shooting from every area of the structure.
Nearby businesses and residents hurried to the scene as chemicals began to flow into the streets and ditches.
The Department of Environmental Quality responded to the scene, which as daylight came, revealed twisted metal and destruction. DEQ workers began supervising the huge cleanup effort and sampling chemicals for toxicity. Plant workers said the chemicals are environmentally friendly and not harmful.
However, neighboring businesses said they worried the leaking chemicals could catch fire.
Vacuum trucks arrived about mid-morning to begin the process of sucking the remainder of the chemicals from the site.
Monolyte Labs employs about 25 people, none of whom were at the plant when the explosion occurred. No injuries were reported in the incident.
The State Fire Marshal’s office says it could take months before an exact cause is determined.
Chief Hughes said it was the biggest fire, that he can recall, in Slaughter history.
Jim Kane, president of Monolyte Labs, released the following statement Monday afternoon. “We are completely focused on securing the facility and executing our emergency site plan that was developed to address critical safety, environmental and community needs.”