Slaughter residents worry Monolyte Labs may be contaminated

SLAUGHTER, LA (WAFB) - The mess surrounding an explosive fire in Slaughter is gone. But the horror of what might be left behind has the town on edge.

There is concern the foundation of Monolyte Labs may have been contaminated.

Glenn Naquin spends a lot of time working around his two-and-a-half acre property in Slaughter. While he is always focused on the task at hand, the images from the 2012 blast at Monolyte Labs weigh heavily on his mind.

"When we started hearing all the explosions going off, we knew it was something.  Later on we saw the smoke coming over here like big black cloud," Naquin said.

Naquin lives less than a mile away from the site.

"When you first passed there, it was bad," Naquin said.

The rubble and storage containers that once covered the land occupied by Monolyte Labs have been removed. All that remains behind the overgrown grass is a concrete slab and a few pebbles and plastic containers. But some residents still worry contaminants could be buried below.

"There's a slab there now, but I don't know if they got everything out of the ground," Naquin said.

Mayor Robert Jackson said the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality has taken samples 18 inches below the surface. But so far, he said, the results have turned up empty.

"At this point, they've indicated no hazardous anything,' Jackson said.

That is still little comfort for residents who live nearby or town leaders who have other plans for the property they label "prime real estate."

"We can't enter into nothing until the legal proceedings are settled. It's just in court right now and the property is standing for these suits," Jackson said.

Jackson said he would like to eventually see a grocery store there and while industry isn't necessarily a bad thing for the town economy, he and some others are hesitant to roll out the welcome mat.

"I'm curious as to what they'll build there next, but I'm sure they won't let them build anything like that again," Naquin said.

The DEQ released a statement saying the final results of its sampling should be ready in two weeks.

The cause of the fire was never determined.

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