BREAKING: Louisiana Chemical Plant Explosion — Evacuations, Possible Dead

A chemical plant explosion in Geismar, Louisiana, has resulted in evacuations, around 64 injured, and at least 1 confirmed fatality. According to local news sources the fire has just been extinguished.

This is a breaking story. Here’s what we know so far.

1.73 People Are in the Hospital, There is at least 1 Fatality

AP is reporting 1 fatality confirmed while Governor Bobby Jindal said in a statement that 73 people have been injured. WAFB in Baton Rouge is now saying that of those sent to the hospital in Baton Rouge the conditions are as listed: 1 critical, 2 serious, 3 good.

2. The Plant Makes Extremely Flammable Chemicals

williams olefin

According to the website for the William Olefins Plant, the factory is a major producer of ethylene and grade propylene:

The Geismar, La. facility annually produces approximately 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene. Also in Louisiana, the olefins team is responsible for the ethane transportation business consisting of approximately 200 miles of pipelines, as well as a refinery-grade propylene splitter.

Ethylene and propylene are extremely flammable. These chemicals have a flammable risk classification of 4 meaning:

Explosives that present minor explosion hazard. The explosive effects are largely confined to the package and no projection or fragments of appreciable size or range are expected. An external fire must not cause virtually instantaneous explosion of almost the entire contents of the package.

You can read more about the properties and dangers of ethylene here:

3. It’s Between Baton Rouge and New Orleans

View Larger Map

Geismar is some 21 miles south of Baton Rouge and 61 miles northwest of New Orleans. The population of Geismar is roughly 7,500, according to The plant is about a mile from the Mississippi. There has yet to be discussion of the environmental impact. However, the document posted above about the dangers of the chemical does sight the dangerous of prolonged inhalation and the damage it can do to the respiratory system.

4. Roads Have Been Closed & Haz-Mat Teams Are On-Scene

5. There Was Another Major Chemical Plant Explosion in the Same Town Last Year

In March 2012, there was a massive explosion and fire at the Westlake PVC plant, also in Geismar, Lousiana. The explosion sent a cloud of toxic vinyl chloride and hydrochloric acid out over the town. The explosion reportedly introduced thousands of pounds of deadly chemicals into the air.

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