Explosion At Williams Companies Plant In Louisiana Kills 1, Inju - NewsOn6.com - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - KOTV.com |

Explosion At Williams Companies Plant In Louisiana Kills 1, Injures Dozens

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A ground-rattling explosion Thursday at a chemical plant in Louisiana ignited a blaze that killed at least one person and injured dozens of others, authorities said. A ground-rattling explosion Thursday at a chemical plant in Louisiana ignited a blaze that killed at least one person and injured dozens of others, authorities said.
GEISMAR, Louisiana -

A ground-rattling explosion Thursday at a chemical plant in Louisiana ignited a blaze that killed at least one person and injured dozens of others, authorities said. Witnesses described a chaotic scene of flames as high as 200 feet into the air and workers scrambling over gates to escape the plant.

A thick plume of black smoke rose from the plant after the blast even after the fire was extinguished. At a roadblock several miles away where family members waited anxiously to hear about loved ones, flames were still easily visible above the trees even hours later.

Trooper Jared Sandifer says the body of 29-year-old Zachary C. Green, of Hammond, was found in the plant after the fire.

Louisiana's health department said 73 people were treated at hospitals for injuries ranging from minor to critical following the morning explosion. A body was found by hazardous materials crews going through the aftermath of the blast at the facility, state police Capt. Doug Cain said.

The company said the blast happened at 8:37 a.m. By the afternoon, all of the plant's more than 300 workers had been accounted for, Cain said. The plant, owned by The Williams Companies Inc., based in Tulsa, Okla., is in an industrial area of Geismar, a Mississippi River community about 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge.

"This was a tragic incident, and our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Geismar and everyone who's been affected by the explosion," Gov. Bobby Jindal said in a press conference. "That includes the workers and individuals who were in the plant at the time of the explosion and their families, and we wish those with injuries a safe and speedy recovery. We want to thank the brave work of our first responders who ran toward danger instead of away from it to help evacuate folks."

The Williams facility is one of scores of chemical and industrial facilities that dot the riverside between Baton Rouge and New Orleans. A few homes and four other plants are within 2 miles, said Lester Kenyon, spokesman for Ascension Parish government.

The cause was not immediately known but the FBI said terrorism was not suspected.

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