Shreveport Fire Crews have reopened a section of W. Bert Kouns Industrial Loop that had been shut down for several hours due to a chemical leak in the area. The all-clear came just before 10:15 a. m. Tuesday--almost 90 minutes after they had reopened only the southbound lane to traffic.
The shutdown began just before 7 a. m. when workers at the Pilgrims Pride plant in the 7100 block of W. Bert Kouns noticed a leak coming from a pipe attached to a 10,000-12,000 lb. tank, according to Scott Wolverton, spokesman for the Shreveport Fire Department. Wolverton said the tank contained a liquid form of anhydrous ammonia.
"It's turning into gas when it comes into contact with the air," he said. "The gas is filling the building."
Wolverton said all employees were evacuated once the leak was discovered and there were no injuries reported. Still, he said the gas caused concern, at one point prompting firefighters to consider evacuating the entire area.
"It could've exploded," he said. "We've had explosions. The plant does have a history with the Shreveport Fire Department."
Wolverton was referring to a 1984 explosion at the plant in which Fire Capt. Percy Johnson was killed. This time, though, there were no such problems, he said.
Wolverton said firefighters used "an unmanned water stream" to diffuse the ammonia as it turned into gas.
"There were no injuries," he said. "There is no danger to the public."