This tractor hit a pipeline in the Yokely road area near Baldwin, leading the evacuations and the closure of U.S. 90.
Courtesy of Allison Vaughan and the St. Mary Sheriff's Office
UPDATE: Accident bursts pipeline near Charenton Canal
***The sheriff's department has issued the "all clear" and highways are open again.***
St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s deputies had their hands full Monday morning on the scene of a pipeline breach at Yokely Road near the railroad tracks in the Baldwin area.
A vehicle reportedly struck a pipeline producing heavy fog of an unknown chemical, inundating the area.
The Franklin Recreation Center on Hospital Boulevard was designated as a shelter for residents who evacuated. The Baldwin Community Center in Baldwin on La. 83 has been added as an evacuations center.
Deputies, fire personnel and local police immediately went to work notifying residents and commuters in the area not to go into the fog, as it was still unclear at the time of the alert, what exactly the chemicals were which comprised it.
The chemical was later reportedly identified by pipeline company representatives as liquified petroleum gas (LPG). In this case, a mixture of chemicals, including propane.
St. Mary Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness and Homeland Security urged citizens to avoid the area, as the investigation into the situation was still in its early stages and is ongoing.
US 90 East and West was closed in the Franklin area, as was Yokely Road at Northwest Blvd.
Power was out across Franklin between 7:30 and 8:30 a.m. due to the pipeline breach.
Cleco had to shut off power in the area due to the pipeline incident, St. Mary Parish Schools Superintendent Leonard Armato said. Franklin High will be dismissed at 10 a.m. Monday and LaGrange Elementary at 10:30 a.m.
Officials had expected power to be out most of the day at both schools, so they made the decision to close the two schools, Armato said. The school system had buses bring children home, and parents were also welcome to check out their children at the schools, he said.
The US 90 bridge and Baldwin Bridge over Charenton Canal were also closed.
More information will be made available as the situation develops.