Louisiana petrochemical plant fire: LIVE UPDATES
The Williams Olefins plant, opened in 1999, produces two widely-used explosive compounds, propylene and ethylene.
18:55 GMT: Governor Bobby Jindal says that 73 people were
taken to hospital following the fire. He also says that no
dangerous emissions have been released, but authorities are still
testing the air quality.
18:01 GMT: Louisiana police have confirmed that one person
has died as a result of the injuries sustained in the explosion.
17:57 GMT: Acadian Ambulance say they have now
transported 60 injured people. 47 were driven to medical units,
and 13 had to be airlifted rapidly.
17:53 GMT: 8 people are being treated in Baton Rouge
General Hospital, with one in critical condition.
17:25 GMT: Louisiana State Police say that the fire in the
plant has been extinguished.
16:51 GMT: Here is another picture of the fire from earlier this morning.
16:27 GMT: Louisiana State Police say that the road
closures will stay in place "until further notice".
16:26 GMT: The Louisiana Department of Environmental
Quality says that the total number of those injured in the blast
is 33, WAFB reports. 30 were taken by ambulance, and three
airlifted. The total number of those in the plant at the time of
explosion is estimated to be around 600.
16:25 GMT: The Ascension Parish Emergency Operations
Center has a opened a phone line for those worried about family
members. The number is 866-380-2303.
16:19 GMT: AP reports that the number of those hospitalized has gone up to 30, according to officials.
16:03 GMT: Although by-products of the chemicals at the plant can be toxic at high concentrations, Louisiana State Police are saying they are not currently a "public threat".
15:54 GMT: Local ABC affiliate reports:
LSP says NO fatalities reported at Geismar plant explosion.— WBRZ News (@WBRZ) June 13, 2013
15:51 GMT: An update from the private ambulance company
15:43 GMT: Baton Rouge station WAFB reports that 6 staff
have been airlifted to hospital by helicopter to be treated for
15:39 GMT: Louisiana Emergency Operations Center is refuting figures of 7 fatalities that appeared in earlier news reports.
15:35 GMT: Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality and Environmental Protection Agency say that they are monitoring the air quality, but do not yet know if any dangerous chemicals have escaped.
Spokesperson Jean Kelly has said "we're just in the very
beginning of this."
15:34 GMT: There is a two-mile shelter around the
plant. Roads LA 30 at LA 74, LA 30 at LA 73, LA 74 at LA 3115,
and LA 75 at LA 3115 have also been blocked off, with police
suggesting locals use alternative routes.
15:27 GMT: Louisiana Emergency Response Network say that
there are 25 injured, but currently no fatalities as a result of
Emergency responders are staged at HWY 3115 and 74 in Ascenion Parish twitter.com/CherylMercedes…— Cheryl Mercedes (@CherylMercedes) June 13, 2013
15:17 GMT: Local CBS affiliate reports:
15:12 GMT: The area, 60 miles north of New Orleans, is home to a whole cluster of petrochemical plants, owned by giants Shell, BASF and others.
Source tells me nearby plants sheltering in place and local hospital alerted to expect patients. #GeismarExplosion— Rob Krieger (@Rob_Krieger) June 13, 2013
15:10 GMT: Update from a local news reporter:
Another view of fire at Williams Olefins plant in Geismar. twitter.com/stevecaparotta…— Steve Caparotta (@stevecaparotta) June 13, 2013
15:00 GMT: Here is an amateur video of the fire, which appears to still be raging.
14:58 GMT: Numerous eyewitnesses on Twitter say police are
telling locals to stay inside and shut windows.
I work kind of close to Geismar.... They're urging us to stay inside— Cook Brady (@CookTheGreat) June 13, 2013