Thursday, June 13, 2013

 

Explosion at Louisiana chemical plant,25 people reported injured.

AP Photo / Ryan Meador
A large explosion at a Louisiana chemical plant Thursday has drawn emergency response, and authorities say more than two dozen people could have been injured in the blast.

The explosion took place at Williams Chemical Plant in Ascension Parish, Louisiana State Police said, and a fire after the explosion appeared to be contained in the plant.

Twenty-five people sustained unspecified injuries, said Paige Hargrove, executive director of the Louisiana Emergency Response Network.

The site of the explosion remains an “active scene,” Lester Kenyon, a public information officer for Ascension Parish, told NBC News. He said the parish’s emergency operations center is in “partial activation” as personnel from local police and fire departments, Homeland Security, and the Ascension Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness are on scene.

The explosion occurred at 8:37am local time, Williams said in a media release on Thursday. Emergency responders were notified and shut-down valves were closed after the explosion, isolating the unit, according to the release.

“The fire is greatly diminished at this time,” the company said in the release. “Our emergency-response crews are thoroughly trained to respond to these types of incidents and are diligently performing their work with their first priority being the safety and well-being of people in and around the area.”
WAFB-TV
The plant is located in Geismar, La., about 60 miles northwest of New Orleans and 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge. The area was described by officials as unincorporated and largely industrial.

Fire officials in nearby Gonzales, La., told NBC News that its fire chief and district fire chief are on the scene in Geismar. They have not yet heard of any injuries, the Gonzales officials said.

The Williams Olefins facility in the town produces about 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of propylene a year, according to the petrochemical company’s website.
15:00 GMT: Here is an amateur video of the fire, which appears to still be raging.


Numerous eyewitnesses on Twitter say police are telling locals to stay inside and shut windows.

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