Lightning suspected as cause for tank fire that forced evacuation in Louisiana

This image provided by Louisiana State Police shows a fire at a storage tank containing volatile naphthalene in Lake Charles, La., on Saturday night, June 3, 2023. The fire is believed to have been ignited by lightning as storms moved through the area earlier in the day. (Louisiana State Police via AP)

LAKE CHARLES, La. (AP) — An evacuation order was lifted early Sunday for residents near a southwest Louisiana refining company where lightning is believed to have sparked a fire at a chemical storage tank.

The fire at Calcasieu Refining in Lake Charles was reported Saturday afternoon as a storm moved through. Louisiana State Police said it was extinguished early Sunday. State police said the tank contained the volatile chemical naptha, which is distilled from petroleum and is used in a variety of products.

No injuries were reported.

An evacuation was ordered for people within 1.5 miles of the facility. Multiple fire brigades fought the fire, which was put out around 4 a.m. The evacuation order was lifted at 6 a.m.

“Crews will remain on site for the next several days to monitor the damaged tank and product to ensure the safety of the public,” Trooper Derek Senegal with Louisiana State Police said in an email.


This story has been corrected to show that the chemical in the tank was naptha, not napthalene.