One Dead, Others Hurt in Second Louisiana Plant Blast

Friday, 14 Jun 2013 10:29 PM

 

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DONALDSONVILLE, La. — One person was killed and several others were injured Friday in an explosion at a south Louisiana chemical plant, only miles from where another blast the previous day led to the deaths of two plant workers, authorities said.

Louisiana State Police Trooper Jared Sandifer said five people were injured, three of them critically, and were taken to area hospitals following Friday evening's explosion at a CF Industries facility in Donaldsonville. The identity of the person killed in the blast wasn't immediately released.

Sandifer said the explosion didn't pose a threat to the area surrounding the plant.

Workers were pressurizing an unspecified "vessel" with nitrogen when the pressure built and caused the explosion, Sandifer said.

CF Industries' website says the plant can produce roughly 5 million tons of nitrogen for agricultural and industrial uses annually.

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.

A spokesman for Deerfield, Ill.-based CF Industries didn't immediately respond to an email and phone call seeking comment.

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.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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