Firefighters are still at the scene of an industrial fire in southwest Shreveport that forced the evacuations of nearby businesses Thursday afternoon.
The blaze broke out around 4:30 p.m. at Gulf State Cold Storage in the 7100 block of Bert Kouns Industrial Loop. The three-alarm fire involves hazardous materials, according to fire officials.
As a result, surrounding businesses were been evacuated. No residential evacuations have been ordered, and fire officials say there is no threat to the public.
More than 50 units were on the scene at the height of the blaze. As of 8:30 p.m., there were still more than 35 fire and hazmat units on the scene, and LA 526 (W. Bert Kouns Industrial Loop) remained closed between LA 511 (W. 70th Street) and Buncombe Road in Caddo Parish due to the fire.
The facility used to be known as Dixie Cold Storage, and it’s is where SFD Fire Captain Percy Johnson was fatally injured in another fire in 1984.
Capt. Johnson and fellow Fire Academy instructor James Patrick “Pat” Johnson, were responding to an ammonia leak when it exploded while they were trying to cap the valve.
Percy Johnson suffered third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body and lived only two days before succumbing to his injuries. Pat Johnson, the late father of U.S. Rep. Mike Johnson, also was seriously burned in that fire, but survived with injuries that he suffered until his death in December 2016, the day before his son was elected to the U.S. Congress.
After the explosion and Percy Johnson’s death, Patrick Johnson went on to found the Percy Johnson Burn Foundation, which supports the burn unit at LSU and holds burn camps every summer.