Police: 1 Dead, 7 Hurt in 2nd La. Plant Blast

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On Thursday, an explosion at a chemical plant in Geismar owned by Williams Cos. Inc. led to two deaths and injured dozens of others. Donaldsonville and Geismar are both located in Ascension Parish and straddle the Mississippi River, between New Orleans and Baton Rouge.

Deerfield, Ill.-based CF Industries said in a news release that one person was killed and seven others were injured in the incident, which occurred at about 6 p.m. CDT in a part of the plant that had been shut down for maintenance activity.

“The incident involved the rupture of an inert nitrogen vessel during the off-loading of nitrogen,” the news release said. “There was no fire or chemical release nor is there any threat or hazard posed to the community.”

CF Industries manufactures ammonia and other nitrogen fertilizers at its Donaldsonville plant.

“Our focus is on our number one priority — the health and safety of our employees and the community,” plant manager Lou Frey said in a statement. “We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our employees.”

This isn’t the first deadly blast at the company’s Donaldsonville plant. Three workers were killed and nine others were injured by an explosion and fire at the facility in May 2000.

Later that year, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration imposed a fine of nearly $150,000 against CF Industries. OSHA cited the company for 14 alleged safety and health violations, 12 of which were described by the agency as serious. The company didn’t contest the citations and agreed to pay the penalties.

(Photo: AP)

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