Another deadly blast has broken out at a United States chemical plant. On Thursday, a bomb-like explosion ignited a fire at the Williams Olefins chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana. At least 77 people were injured, with three people remaining in intensive care for hours after the explosion, The Advocate reported. And one person was killed.
The deceased man is identified as Zachary C. Green. He was 29 and had been working there for only a few months. “He will be missed by everyone and this is just a very sad day for me and a lot of other people,” his friend Corey Pea told The Advocate.
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As the fire raged, more than 300 people had to be evacuated, while ten workers stayed behind to shut off valves, the Associated Press reported.
Authorities promise a full investigation. In a news conference, Governor Bobby Jindal also promised to hold the chemical company accountable if an investigation finds that it is to blame.
The plant produces 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of propylene a year. The eruption occurred as chemicals were being burned off. The fire was fueled by the petrochemical propylene, NBC reported. Local officials claim that they haven't detected any "dangerous levels" of emissions in the town.
The explosion comes after a fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded in April. That explosion was fueled by ammonium nitrate, an explosive chemical that Reuters later found is stored heavily across the United States, affecting a total of 800,000 people.