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Fire at Cottonport waste tire facility continues to burn

Alex Orenczuk reports on the Cottonport fire and the latest news surrounding the situation.
Published: Jan. 21, 2022 at 5:16 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 21, 2022 at 7:24 PM CST
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COTTONPORT, La. (KALB) - Firefighters are continuing to try and extinguish a fire that started on Sunday, January 16, 2022, at the Cottonport Monofill old waste tire processing facility.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s Office said the remote location of the fire, lack of access to water, wind and the material being burned are challenging firefighters’ efforts to put the fire out.

On Thursday, January 20, 2022, LDEQ said the fire was only 35% contained. LDEQ said on Jan. 21 that progress is being made.

“It waxes and wanes according to the wind, but we feel like we’re making progress,” said LDEQ Press Secretary Gregory Langley. “They’re working now on putting more water on the tire piles. They are still seeing a few flare-ups.”

The smoke from the fire prompted the Louisiana Department of Corrections to evacuate 1,500 prisoners from the nearby Raymond Laborde Correctional Center.

Some Cottonport residents that live close to the site have been dealing with smoke from the fire as well.

“We cannot only smell the tires, but we can taste them in our house,” said Cottonport resident Brandy Lawson. “We just want answers. We just want to know if it’s safe for us, or if we need to evacuate.”

The Cottonport Mayor’s Office said that there are no plans to evacuate residents, but that could change. LDEQ has not issued an evacuation recommendation but it will continue to test air quality with a mobile air quality monitoring laboratory that is currently stationed at the fire. Results from air quality tests are in real-time and can be found HERE.

There was no prediction from LDEQ on when the fire will be extinguished, and the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

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