BURNSIDE — Authorities late Monday allowed Pelican Point residents to return home following a “loud, roaring sound” and evacuation caused by a pure oxygen pipeline leak in a remote area off La. 44 near Donaldson Drive.
Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said no one was injured and nothing was ignited in the leak of the pipeline owned by Air Liquide. What caused the leak was unknown Monday night, he said.
Residents heard loud noises similar to a jet engine when the leak occurred at 8:30 p.m., Wiley said.
Hazardous material teams as well as several fire departments in Ascension investigated the leak, but no dangerous or flammable materials were detected, Wiley said.
At 9:30 p.m., authorities identified the Air Liquide oxygen pipeline as the source of the noise, Chief Deputy Tony Bacala said in a news release.
The pipeline was being depressurized and the evacuation order was lifted shortly thereafter, Bacala said.
Air Liquide officials said they expected the noise to dissipate sometime overnight, Wiley said.
Authorities evacuated residents on the northern side of Pelican Point out of precaution, Wiley said.
Emergency shelters were not necessary, Wiley said. “The alarm is clearly diminishing,” he said.
La. 44 was closed off for a short period as authorities examined the leak, Wiley said.
Danielle Mock, 34, said she, her husband and two children were asked to evacuate Pelican Point, an upscale subdivision near the Mississippi River that is home to two golf courses and a swimming pool.
Mock said she and her family heard the loud sounds when the leak happened. “It’s just this loud, roaring sound that just didn’t stop,” she said.
Mock said authorities later knocked on her door and told her a gas pipeline was leaking.
Mock said authorities were going door to door and asking people to evacuate. She said she and her family headed to her mother’s house.
Clint Mock, 30, Danielle Mock’s husband, said authorities told them they had to turn to River Road to evacuate.
“They let us know that we could not turn left out of our neighborhood going towards I-10,” he said.
Air Liquide is an international company that specializes in gases for industry, health and the environment, including oxygen, nitrogen, argon and hydrogen, according to the company’s website. Its U.S. headquarters is located in Houston, and the company has an office in Baton Rouge and facilities in Geismar and Port Allen.