Posted 5 months ago on June 13, 2013, 1:36 p.m. EST by ericweiss
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Blast at chemical plant in US state of Louisiana Fire at Williams Olefins chemical plant in Geismar. The cause of the explosion and fire at the plant is not yet clear A chemical plant in the US state of Louisiana has been hit by a large explosion and fire, officials say.
At least 30 people have been injured in the blast at the Williams Olefins chemical plant in Geismar, officials quoted by AP news agency said.
The plant produces highly flammable gases that are used in the petrochemical industry.
Footage from the scene showed flames and a huge pall of black smoke over the plant.
The cause of the blast, which happened at about 08:30 local time (13:30 GMT), is unclear.
Major roads around the site have been sealed off and nearby residents have been told to stay indoors with doors and windows closed.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Environmental Quality quoted by AP said about 30 people had been taken to hospital by ambulance or helicopter. She did not have details about their injuries.
The spokeswoman said tests had not found dangerous levels of chemicals in the air so far.
A statement from Williams said that emergency shut-down valves had been closed at the plant and the unit was isolated.
"Our emergency-response crews are thoroughly trained to respond to these types of incidents and are diligently performing their work with their first priority being the safety and well-being of people in and around the area," the statement said.
"We are in the process of accounting for all personnel. Injuries have been reported, the number and extent of those injuries is not known at this point." Amy Johnson, a spokeswoman for the district office of the Homeland Security department said: "The fire department, the sheriff's office and hazmat (hazardous materials) team are responding to the explosion at the Williams Olefins plant."
In April at least 15 people were killed and scores injured by an explosion at a fertiliser plant near Waco in the state of Texas.