Environment
4:20 pm
Fri June 14, 2013

Geismar Plant Explosion Claims a Second Life

Thursday’s chemical plant explosion in Geismar, La. has claimed another life. Seven remained hospitalized Friday with burns and respiratory complications.

Williams Companies CEO Alan Armstrong visited with workers and their families Friday. He called the incident a “major” explosion.

“This is a terrible and unprecedented tragedy," Armstrong said. "I’ve talked with a few of our employees and I know they are hurting, however, I’ve also seen and been inspired by their courage.”

The damaged plant still isn’t secure. Twenty-five workers are rotating 12-hour shifts in groups to burn off chemicals and de-pressurize the Williams Olefins plant in Ascension Parish – that’ll take another day.

The hundreds of other plant employees are being compensated for the time they aren’t working.

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeff Wiley said that he hopes the incident doesn’t slow the economic growth of the Parish.

“We love the petrochemical industry and we love the engine, the economics, the jobs, and the quality of life it provides for us, but sadly on occasion we get reminded that things can happen," Wiley said.

But growth aside, Wiley added, safety regulations need to be a priority.

The cause of the blast is still unknown. Investigations will continue into the weekend.