Hydrochloric acid leak that caused evacuation in Gonzales is under control, cleanup efforts ongoing

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - A chemical leak that caused an evacuation Wednesday night at the Lamar Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales is under control.

Crews have now turned their attention to cleanup efforts.

Ascension Parish officials said hydrochloric acid started leaking from a nearby train around 9 p.m. Hazmat crews were quickly called to the scene.

Once they arrived, they issued a shelter in place for a one-mile radius around Lamar Dixon as a precaution. The leak stopped on its own and now officials are cleaning up the chemical.

"Now, what we have to do is try to neutralize the acid that was poured onto the ground," said Chief Deputy Bobby Webre with the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office. "And, I think we'll do that by spraying foam on it. There is a small vapor coming off of the liquid, so we'll knock that vapor down with foam and then, we'll use lime or other agents to neutralize the acids that are on the ground."

Ashland Road, which was closed because of the leak, has reopened.

Hazmat crews on the scene concluded their initial inspection of the leaking rail car around 11 p.m. Louisiana State Police reported air quality monitoring has not picked up any hydrochloric acid. Officials added the public is not in any danger, but to avoid the area.

Lamar Dixon was the only area evacuated.

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