Iberia

Jun 17, 2011 12:26 AM by Shawn Kline

Evacuation ends; Multi-Chem cleanup begins

More than 60 homes and businesses are back to 'normal' Thursday afternoon. An evacuation put in place Tuesday evening ended a two-day blockade of a mile radius of Multi-Chem Corp. on Admiral Doyle Drive in New Iberia.

"They were tremendous explosions." Odis Lounsberry says, "I called 911 and asked if we had to evacuate and they said, 'no.' 20 minutes later, the Sheriffs Office came knocking on my door."

That was the last time Lounsberry saw home this week.

"We left and I had the shirt on my back and thats it," he said. "We had no idea when we were coming back. That's the hardest thing."

The evacuation is now lifted but the hardest part hasn't even begun for Multi-Chem- the site of Tuesday's explosion.

"At this point, the state turns it back over and we'll begin our cleanup," Multi-Chem Vice President, Blake Gage said.

Only sections of New Iberia's Industrial Park remained closed- each surrounding the immediate area around the site of the explosion. The company is also handling claims from nearby businesses and residents.

"It's been a difficult experience for Multi-Chem." Gage says, "we obviously apologize for putting peoples' lives out of order."

A little out of order for Lounsberry but he's just happy to be back.

"Oh, it's great!" He says, "you don't miss home until you leave it."

As for air quality, more than 700 measurements were taken Thursday- none of them showing unsafe levels of chemicals including xylene, toluene and methanol.

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