At least one person is dead and more than sixty were injured early this morning after an explosion rocked a chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana. 30 people were taken to nearby hospitals, some of whom had to be airlifted.
Authorities are assessing the damage and investigating the cause today, as well as trying to contain the area. It's not known what chemicals, if any, may have leaked into the air during the explosion. The William Olefins plant makes 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene, a popular flammable gas, and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene every year.
Government officials have weighed in on the explosion and say their thoughts are with the victims.
"My thoughts and prayers are with the employees who were working at Williams Olefins plant, especially to the family of the one confirmed fatality and those who have sustained injuries. I am grateful for Louisiana’s first responders who are placing themselves in harm’s way to preserve the safety and security of the nearby communities and am committed to working with federal and state officials to investigate what caused this terrible incident. The oil and gas industry plays a vital role in supporting our domestic production and our nation’s economy. Williams Olefin’s Geismar plant makes 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene annually and that underscores the importance of ensuring that these employees, and all of our workers in the oil and gas industry, are afforded a safe and secure work environment," said Congressman Cedric Richmond.
Image: Eyewitness photo