Louisiana State Police say this photo shows hundreds of thousands of pounds of improperly stored explosive materials on properly leased by Explo Systems, Inc. at Camp Minden (Source: Louisiana State Police)
LSP Col. Mike Edmonson, LA National Guard Maj. Gen. Glenn Curtis and a contingent of northwest Louisiana legislators attend a news conference at Camp Minden Friday afternoon.
Another look at the improperly stored black powder. (Source: Louisiana State Police)
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CAMP MINDEN, LA (KSLA) -
State and local officials are prepared to move forward with plans to secure hundreds of thousands of pounds of black powder over the weekend at Camp Minden.
Residents that live within the city limits of nearby Doyline were asked to leave by Friday evening.
At a news conference Friday afternoon, Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton announced the addition of another shelter location, since the one at Billy Pomeroy Caney Conference Center has filled up.
The additional shelter will be at the Lake Bistineau State Park on Hwy 163 south of Doyline. Sexton says fees will be waived at the park for Doyline residents with proper ID. There are 20 cabins available, fitting 8 people per cabin. There are also RV and camp sites available. While there is a commercial kitchen and baths available, evacuees will need to bring their own food and bedding.
The evacuation notice comes just days after Louisiana State Police found a million pounds of improperly stored M6 propellant powder on the property leased by Explo Systems, Inc., located at Camp Minden.
"Ya'll are the closest thing to this unsecure product, that is why we are advising ya'll and you need to leave," Sexton told residents at a town hall meeting Thursday night.
Hazmat crews, working with Louisiana State Police, the Louisiana National Guard and Explo will work over the weekend to secure the hazardous product in bunkers located on the property at Camp Minden.
Col. Mike Edmonson, head of the Louisiana State Police, reaffirmed their intention not to touch the combustible material until 6 a.m. Saturday. "Everything we've done up to this point is trying to make sure that it's a safe environment for those that are working out here." While public safety is the top priority, Edmonson says the investigation into how it got there is ongoing. "Lot of allegations out there. Our job is to look at those allegations and find facts, and where we find facts, apply those to the applicable and known state laws that we have in place right now. The bottom line is, had we not followed up on that explosion on the 15th of October, and had our inspector not gone back there, we wouldn't have discovered it. We would not have known about it."
Attempts to reach officials with Explo for comment have been unsuccessful.
According to the LA DOTD:
LA 164 will be closed from its junction with LA 614 on the west end to Amos Cutoff Road on the east end. Amos Cutoff Road is located one mile east of the LA 163/LA 164 intersection in Doyline.
LA 163 will be closed from Boothville Road on the south end to its junction with LA 164 in Doyline.Detour via LA 3227 to LA 157 to Interstate 20 to US 371. Once they leave, residents will not be allowed back in until the project is completed.