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Breaking: Major Explosion at Louisiana Chemical Plant

- Common Dreams staff

News outlets are reporting a "major blast" and "hydrocarbon fire" at a chemical plant in Geismar, Louisiana with reports of injuries and possible fatalities.

(Photo via WAFB Baton Rouge) The William Olefins plant produces approximately 1.3 billion pounds of ethylene and 90 million pounds of polymer grade propylene, according to the Williams website. These chemicals are the basic building blocks in the petrochemical process used to make plastics.

The blast was reported at approximately 8:30am local time. According to reports, a hazardous materials team is on the scene preparing to to decontaminate the area.

A neighboring plant warned local news outlet WAFB in Baton Rouge that the major exposure following the explosion is "Butadiene spheres," which could potentially trigger another explosion.  They say that Williams Olefine has a hydrocarbon fire and the concern is that another explosion could occur and the fire is not under control.

WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

The blast comes two months after a massive explosion at a fertilizer plant in West, Texas devastated the surrounding area and, because of lax zoning laws and regulatory enforcement, caused plums of toxic clouds to spread throughout the community.

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