Hurricane Laura causes chemical plant fire in Lake Charles

Hurricane Laura causes chemical plant fire in Lake Charles
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Hurricane Laura caused a chemical plant fire in Lake Charles, La., after making landfall Thursday morning. 

“There is a chemical fire in the Westlake/Moss Bluff/Sulphur area. Residents are advised to shelter in place until further notice and close your doors and windows. Follow the directions of local officials,” Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) posted on Twitter. 

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Edwards directed residents to turn off their air conditioning units and shelter in place until further notice.

The fire broke out at a plant owned by BioLab, a subsidiary of privately held KIKCorp, company representatives told The Hill.  The plant manufactures chlorine-based products.

The storm strengthened overnight with reported sustained winds of 150 mph, making it just 7 mph shy of becoming a Category 5. Hurricane Katrina was a Category 3 storm when it made landfall in 2005.

An update from the National Weather Service posted later Thursday morning indicated that "catastrophic" storm surge levels were still present along the Gulf Coast as well as high winds and flooding. 

Laura was downgraded to a Category 2 storm shortly after making landfall and was expected to further weaken on Thursday.

The White House announced Thursday that President TrumpDonald TrumpSanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown Laura Ingraham 'not saying' if she'd support Trump in 2024 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Djokovic may not compete in French Open over vaccine requirement MORE will visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters later in the day to discuss the damage caused by the storm.