Chemical Plant Explosion in Louisiana: Industrial Accident Kills Workers
Thursday and Friday were deadly in southern Louisiana, as two fatal chemical plant explosions occurred at two plants within a few miles of each other on those days.
The first one took place Thursday morning, when an explosion and fire broke out at the Williams Olefins chemical plant, which lies about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in Ascension Parish. The fire, which was fueled by propylene, burned for about three hours before firefighters could put it out, and, in the end, the incident killed one and injured 73. In addition to the injured, who were all transported to hospitals, 300 other workers had to be evacuated from the plant.
Monitors with the state and federal governments found no immediate threat to the public afterward, but they continued to burn off chemicals well into the night.
As of now, the cause of that fire is unknown.
The very next day, there was another explosion at a CF Industries hydrogen chemical plant in the town of Donaldsville, which is very close to the location of the previous day’s explosion. In that one, one worker was killed and seven others were injured. And it was a bit less mysterious.
That explosion occurred as workers were piping nitrogen from a truck and pressurizing an unspecified “vessel,” which is how the company referred to it. Pressure built up and caused the the “vessel” to explode, sending shrapnel from the “vessel” flying all through the plant. According to the company, the “vessel” was designed to hold more pressure than it did, but it simply failed. They also noted that “(t)here was no fire or chemical release nor is there any threat or hazard posed to the community.”
Friday’s fatal explosion wasn’t the first at the plant. In May 2000, an explosion and fire killed three workers and injured 19. After that explosion, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fined the company nearly $150,000, for 14 safety and health violations, including 12 which were labeled “serious.”
If you or a loved one has been injured or has died from an explosion or other incident at a chemical plant, contact the experienced Texas Chemical Plant Safety Attorney at Hill Law Firm as soon as possible, so that your rights can be protected.