Explosion and chemical fire at Geismar plant - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Explosion and chemical fire at Geismar plant

By MARY FOSTER

Associated Press

GEISMAR, La. (AP) - An explosion and fire at a chemical plant in southeastern Louisiana caused the release of hazardous vinyl chloride into the air, authorities said.

No one was injured in Thursday's accident at the Westlake Vinyls plant in the Geismar community, an area that plays host to a large number of chemical plants that dot the Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to New Orleans.

State police spokesman Russell Graham said it wasn't clear how much of the chemical was released, but a small cloud was hovering over the plant. A handful of residents living in the heavily industrial area were advised to stay indoors, keep doors and windows closed and turn off air conditioning units. Other plants in the area were advised to do likewise.

"This is an industrial area," Graham said. "You're talking several plants." The plant's owner, Houston-based Westlake Chemical Corp., said the blast occurred about 8 a.m. during the restarting of a vinyl chloride monomer unit. State police said the fire was out by 9:20 a.m. Vinyl chloride monomers are used is for the manufacture of polymer, which is used to make plastic products.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has determined that vinyl chloride is a known cancer-causing substance in humans. Westlake Chemical said the cause of the explosion was not known. A line of strong thunderstorms passed through the region Thursday morning.

Graham said the cause would be investigated by state police hazardous materials experts, the emergency office of Ascension Parish, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and the company.

Air monitoring units were dispatched to the area to monitor pollution, Graham said. Several major roads were blocked in the area to all but emergency traffic, Graham said.

In 2010, Westlake Chemical said the plant won an award for safety that year from the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

Alan Sayre in New Orleans contributed to this report.

 

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

  • Trending StoriesTrending StoriesMore>>

  • Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

    Severe reaction to new sandals leads woman on a painful path

        One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction.  She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    more>>

    One woman wants to warn people about her painful path, the result of a severe and debilitating allergic reaction. She had no idea what she was allergic to until she visited a fourth emergency room in two weeks.    

    more>>
  • 'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    'The Phantom' serial killer of children out of prison, living in Tucson

    Thursday, April 27 2017 12:17 AM EDT2017-04-27 04:17:43 GMT
    Friday, April 28 2017 11:32 PM EDT2017-04-29 03:32:02 GMT
    Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)Convicted killer William Huff was spotted riding his bicycle through a Tucson neighborhood. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children.

    more>>

    William Huff terrorized Sierra Vista during the spring and summer of 1967. Despite a sentence of 40 years to life, the Arizona Board of Executive Clemency voted to release him from prison into home arrest. Family members of the victims are concerned for the safety of the community, as are new members of the Clemency Board. CBS 5 Investigates videotaped Huff riding a bike through his Tucson neighborhood. There are no restrictions placed on his proximity to children. 

    more>>
  • BREAKING

    1 dead, NWS issues tornado warnings for ETX

    1 dead, NWS issues tornado warnings for ETX

    Saturday, April 29 2017 11:07 PM EDT2017-04-30 03:07:50 GMT

    Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued Saturday for multiple East Texas counties.

    more>>

    Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued Saturday for multiple East Texas counties.

    more>>
Powered by Frankly