Skip to main content

Louisiana officials: One dead, at least 75 injured in chemical plant blast

By Michael Pearson and AnneClaire Stapleton, CNN
updated 6:46 PM EDT, Fri June 14, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: A 29-year-old man from Hammond was killed, officials say
  • NEW: Authorities update the condition of those who were hospitalized
  • Aside from a controlled burn, the fire at the chemical plant is out, official says
  • Hospitals report three people in critical condition

Are you there? Share your images, but stay safe.

(CNN) -- A plume of thick smoke rose over a Louisiana chemical plant Thursday after an explosion and fire that left at least one person dead and forced authorities to ask people as far as 2 miles away to stay inside to avoid exposure to potentially toxic fumes.

Zachary Green, 29, of Hammond was killed in the blast, the Louisiana State Police said.

A dramatic image provided to CNN affiliate WAFB by a plant worker who did not want to be identified showed workers running from a towering orange column of flame ripping through part of the plant.

At least 75 people were injured in the blast, said Christina Stephens, a spokeswoman with the Louisiana Department of Health.

Fire under control at chemical plant
Explosion at chemical plant in Louisiana
Dozens injured in refinery explosion

"Generally they were people who came in with burns, cardiac issues and blunt trauma," she said.

Aside from a controlled burn at the Williams Geismar plant, the fire was out, Louisiana State Police Trooper Jaren Sandifer told CNN.

Firefighters and a hazardous materials team were evaluating the situation, Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeffrey Wiley told reporters.

"We think we have a stable situation," he said.

iReport: Video shot just after the explosion

As Gov. Bobby Jindal traveled to the area to meet with emergency workers, authorities lifted the shelter-in-place order for nearby residents early Thursday afternoon. Four nearby chemical plants remained under a similar order, Ascension Parish spokesman Lester Kenyon told CNN.

At least one person died, Sandifer said.

Three people were hospitalized in critical condition, according to information provided by hospitals who reported receiving patients from the blast -- Baton Rouge General Hospital, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital.

One person was in serious condition, 12 were in fair condition and one was in good condition, according to the hospitals.

About 600 people were at the plant when the explosion occurred, Sandifer told CNN.

It was unclear what caused the blast, he said.

The plant produces about 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer-grade propylene each year, according to the company's website.

The explosion in Louisiana comes two months after a deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, on April 17. In that incident, 15 people died and a significant portion of the town was damaged by the explosion.

See also: Cause of Texas explosion "undetermined"

CNN's Joe Sutton contributed to this story.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Industrial incidents
updated 9:37 AM EDT, Thu May 8, 2014
U.S. regulators issued a safety advisory urging freight railroads to avoid using older tank cars when hauling highly volatile crude oil when possible.
updated 10:03 PM EDT, Wed April 30, 2014
A pillar of black smoke billowed over downtown Lynchburg, Virginia, after a train carrying crude oil jumped its tracks and caught fire.
updated 4:15 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
Stories continued to emerge as firefighters ferreted through the piles of bricks and wreckage on the East Harlem block where a powerful explosion and fire leveled two buildings.
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Mon March 17, 2014
Those two New York buildings were served by a very old gas main -- 127 years old to be exact. It's the latest incident in what experts warn is a dangerous trend plaguing the nation's oldest cities.
updated 7:56 PM EDT, Wed March 12, 2014
Some thought it was a bomb. Others thought it was the commuter train that runs behind their buildings jumping the tracks.
updated 7:48 PM EDT, Fri March 14, 2014
Metro-North Railroad, the second largest commuter rail line in the country, has a "deficient safety culture" and overemphasizes on-time performance.
updated 6:32 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
A roof collapsed at a resort retreat for college freshmen in South Korea, killing 10 people and injuring more than 100.
updated 11:45 PM EST, Thu February 13, 2014
An old auditorium collapsed at a village wedding in eastern China, killing at least nine people and injuring some 90 others.
updated 1:14 PM EST, Sun January 5, 2014
At least 14 people were killed when a building under construction at India's seaside tourist resort of Goa caved in.
updated 7:16 AM EST, Mon December 30, 2013
Part of a picturesque toll highway that tourists use to travel between the Mexican towns of Ensenada and Tijuana collapsed.
updated 2:16 PM EST, Sun December 8, 2013
Given the New York train derailment, are we approaching a time when machines should be powering our methods of travel forward?
updated 8:58 AM EST, Mon November 18, 2013
At least 27 people were killed when a cargo train slammed into two cars south of Cairo.
updated 12:43 PM EST, Sat November 23, 2013
Latvia's president has described the deadly collapse of a supermarket roof in Riga as "basically mass murder" of defenseless citizens.
updated 7:27 AM EST, Wed November 20, 2013
South Africa's Department of Labour is visiting the site of aroof collapse near the eastern city of Durban, in which at least one person died and 30 people were injured.
updated 4:28 AM EDT, Mon September 30, 2013
Authorities say they now know what may have caused a five-story building in Mumbai to collapse: a decorator who removed a central wall and supporting beams without permission.
updated 5:03 PM EDT, Tue July 30, 2013
The driver of a train that derailed in northwestern Spain, killing 79 people, was on the phone with railway staff when the train crashed.
updated 3:06 AM EST, Mon December 1, 2014
See images of industrial incidents spanning modern history
updated 7:52 AM EDT, Wed May 15, 2013
A city is in despair after many are killed in a garment factory collapse
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT