June 13, 2013

1 dead, 77 hurt in Louisiana plant explosion (Updated 8:50 p.m.)

By STACEY PLAISANCE, Associated Press

GEISMAR, La. — A ground-rattling explosion at a chemical plant in Louisiana ignited a blaze that killed at least one person and injured dozens of others. Louisiana’s health department says 77 people were treated at hospitals for injuries ranging from minor to critical following the Thursday morning explosion.

Health department spokeswoman Christina Stephens says by the evening, 51 had been discharged. She says hospitals reported that workers mostly had burns, cardiac and respiratory issues and bruises.

State police say the body of a 29-year-old man was found in the plant owned by The Williams Companies Inc.

Police say all workers had been accounted for by Thursday afternoon.

The company said the blast happened at 8:37 a.m. at the plant in an industrial area of Geismar, a Mississippi River community about 20 miles southeast of Baton Rouge.