1 dead, 30 rescued after La. chemical plant explosion

1 dead, 30 rescued after La. chemical plant explosion

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by KTVB.COM

KTVB.COM

Posted on June 13, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Louisiana State Police confirmed one person has died in the mid-morning explosion that rocked a Geismar chemical plant.

At least 30 people were rescued from the Williams Geismar olefines chemical plant and taken by ambulance to local hospitals. Three were airlifted, the Department of Environmental Quality said.

Baton Rouge General Hospital, meanwhile, reported taking in eight patients, including one in critical condition, two in serious, two in fair and three in good condition. The hospital reported that five of the patients had sustained burns.

There were as many as 600 workers in the plant at the time of the explosion, State Police Capt. Doug Cain said.

 The explosion was reported to police around 8:30 a.m., and as of 10:50 a.m. officials believed the fire was contained and the situation was stable, WAFB reported. Louisiana State Police said there was still a threat of a secondary explosion.

"We are in the process of accounting for all personnel. Injuries have been reported, the number and extent of those injuries is not known at this point," the company said in a news release.

There were as many as 600 workers in the plant at the time of the explosion, according to WAFB.

The release said the emergency shut-down valves were closed and the unit is isolated.

Still, LSP responded to the explosion by sending a hazardous materials team to the fire.

The release from the stack is reported to be residual propelyne, which is generating the smoke, according to the DEQ.

Parts of Louisiana highways 74, 30 and 3115 are still closed, troopers said.

Residents in St. Gabriel are asked to shelter in place from LA 3115 to LA 74 as a precaution.

Family members or employer personnel seeking information about potential victims can call 1-866-380-2303 or (225) 387-7767.

Williams Geismar annually produces approximately 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene, according to the company’s website.

Products from the facility are responsible for the ethane transportation business consisting of approximately 200 miles of pipelines, as well as a refinery-grade propylene splitter. The ethylene is used in the production of plastics.

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