Donaldsonville Explosion Leaves 1 Dead, 7 Injured


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An explosion at a plant in Donaldsonville, Louisiana yesterday left one person dead and seven more injured, according to local authorities.

The explosion occurred at the CF Industries Nitrogen Complex. The explosion appeared to have been caused by a ruptured liquid nitrogen vessel. The plant's general manager, Lou Frey, said that the section of the plant where the vessel ruptured had been closed for maintenance, and that there was no fire.

The plant manufactures ammonia and nitrogen fertilizers, though officials said there were no hazardous materials on site at the time of the explosion.

Fifty-five year old Ronald "Rocky" Morris of Belle Rose, Louisiana was killed in the explosion. Morris had worked at the plant for 34 years.

Local sheriff Jeff Wiley said that the incident posed no hazard to the area surrounding the plant, and that no chemicals had been released into the atmosphere during the explosion.

This is not the first such incident at this plant. In May 2000 an explosion left three people dead and eight injured. An OSHA investigation into that incident discovered 14 health and safety violations, 12 described as "serious." The agency hit CF Industries with almost $150,000 in fines due to that incident.

Earlier today authorities confirmed that OSHA would be conducting an investigation into this incident as well. They are expected to arrive this weekend and begin their investigation as soon as the plant is deemed safe.

The Donaldsonville explosion was the second such incident in the area in as many days. An explosion at a plant in nearby Geismar, Louisiana left two dead and over 100 injured.